G7 Week 12 – S2

Friday, May 4th

Today in science: F & G period students received their (graded) atmosphere maps at the start of class. Dr. Merritt explained not only the grade, but also how students could improve their grade on this assignment should they wish to. In an attempt to continue traveling ‘up’ into the layers of the Earth’s atmosphere, students then looked at the record-setting altitude jump of Austria’s (and RedBull’s) Felix Baumgartner, who rose to a height of 38,969 meters before returning back to Earth in 2012. In G period, we then saw how Baumgartner’s jump was then bested by Google’s Alan Eustace in 2014 (see below). Eustace ascended to a height of 41,419 meters before returning to Earth via freefall and parachute.

Homework: There is no science homework tonight.

Thursday, May 3rd

Today in science: In an attempt to begin traveling ‘up’ into the layers of the Earth’s atmosphere, we looked at the record-setting altitude jump of America’s Joseph Kittinger on August 16, 1960. Colonel Kittinger’s journey into the middle of the stratosphere (31,300 m) helped introduce our class to the notion of air ‘pressure,’ which was also illustrated by watching two marshmallows expanding in an vacuum chamber. You can see a condensed version colonel Kittinger’s pioneering atmosphere jump below.

In A period, students also saw that Colonel Kittinger’s world-record atmosphere jump was broken in 2012 by Austria’s (and RedBull’s) Felix Baumgartner, who rose to a height of 38,969 before returning back to Earth.

Homework: There is no science homework tonight.

Wednesday, May 2nd

A period: When going over the correct answers to the Get-To-Know-a-Molecule sheet for nitrogen gas (N2), an interesting question was raised by an A period student: What would happen to humans if the overall percentage of nitrogen gas in the atmosphere were to decrease? This fantastic question gave birth to a series of other related questions such as,

Do humans have nitrogen atoms in their bodies?
– If so, are nitrogen atoms important for humans? What do we use them for?
– If so, how do nitrogen atoms get into a human body? Is it possible to breath them in from the air? Can you drink nitrogen atoms? Can you eat them?

Many diagrams, comments, stories, and questions later, Dr. M explained to students how the answer to all of these questions (and more!) are related to something called the “Nitrogen Cycle.”

Homework: A period science students have no science homework tonight.

G period: After turning in their scale drawings of the atmosphere, students were shown how to complete the Get-To-Know-a-Molecule sheet for nitrogen gas (N2). They were then asked to complete two additional sheets: one for oxygen gas (O2), and one for carbon dioxide gas (CO2). Together, these three gases–nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide–happen to be three of the four gases that constitute the largest percentage of the many gases that compose the Earth’s atmosphere.

Homework: Students should complete the three Get-To-Know-a-Molecule sheets before their next science class.

Tuesday, May 1st

Today in science: After turning in their scale drawings of the atmosphere, students were asked to begin working on three Get-To-Know-a-Molecule sheets, one for nitrogen gas (N2), one of oxygen gas (O2), and one for carbon dioxide gas (CO2). These three gases happen to be three of the four gases that constitute the largest percentage of the many gases that compose the Earth’s atmosphere.

Homework: Students should complete the three Get-To-Know-a-Molecule sheets before their next science class.

Monday, April 30th

Today in science: After turning in their lab notebooks for check-in, students began making a scale diagram of the layers of Earth’s atmosphere on a sheet of A3 paper. This diagram required students to calculate and represent the first four layers of the atmosphere on the paper positioned in the portrait orientation (we agreed not to put the EXOSPHERE on the paper).

TROPOSPHERE: 0-10 km
STRATOSPHERE: 11-50 km
MESOSPHERE: 51-80 km
THERMOSPHERE: 81-500 km

After locating the mathematically correct boundaries of each ‘sphere’ and drawing dotted lines to mark the division.

Homework: After locating the mathematically correct boundaries of each ‘sphere’ and drawing dotted lines to mark the division, students have been asked to do a little bit of research into the composition of each of the four spheres. In other words, what substances are typically found within each ‘level’ or sphere? Here are some useful links for your research.

Wikikpedia – Atmosphere of Earth 
North Carolina Climate Office – Composition of the Atmosphere
Space.com – Earth’s Atmosphere

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