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Acknowledgements
Bethany Blackwood
Laura Boyle
Gretchen Brinza
William Brown
Joanna Calandriello
Eu Choi
Kevin Connolly
Fitzgerald Crame
James Edstrom
Melinet Ellison
Jeffrey Erickson
Laura Frcka
Katleya Healy
Tracy Iammartino
Leigha Ingham
Sandra Jackson
Marianna Jennings
Edward Kania
Molly Lahart

Albert Lang
Chris Layton
Preston Lewis
Sushma Lohitsa
ShuJuana Lovett
Juven Macias
Kendra Mallory
Daphne Moore
Oscar Newman
Tim Nuttle
Lidia Ortiz
Tasia Pena
Kyle Radcliff
Bessie Rahman
Libby Robertson
Jennifer Schultz
Halyna Sendoun
Karoline Sharp
Thomas Sherlock

Lucas Smith
Andrew Stricker
Valia Thompson
Stephen Tow
Aurora Tyagi
Tracey Walker-Hines
Delora Washington
Jeanettra Watkins
Darnella Wesley
Melanie Yau
Lucy Young
Punya Mishra
Missy Cosby
Akesha Horton
Candace Marcotte
Rohit Mehta
Kyle Shack

Carl Sagans

Cosmos:

A personal voyage
The educators perspective

Ch. 1

The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean

The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually


we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean
of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is
to reclaim a little more land.
-T.H. Huxley, 1887 pg. 1
Image courtesy of NASA http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=59538

THE

BIG

The scale of the universe is beyond ordinary human comprehension.

Humans have adapted to search for meaning and making sense of where we are in the
universe has been important throughout history.

We need to explicitly introduce the ideas of astronomical distance and geologic time to our
students.

Students need to become familiar with the types of evidence used to establish dates and
distances - the types of evidence required to discuss these ideas.

Science requires habits of mind such as curiosity and skepticism in order to advance
knowledge. For example, Eratosthenes was able to derive a method for determining the
size of the Earth based on a shrewd observation of shadows.

Students need to become familiar with conventions for large (and small) numbers.

Educators need to explicitly make students familiar with examples of scientific thinking
across cultures.

IDEA(S)

WHAT THIS MEANS


FOR

STEM
EDUCATORS

Ch. 1

PERFORMANCES OF

UNDERSTANDING

Ch. 1

Students will ask lots of questions.

Students will develop the capacity to answer their questions independently.

Students will expand their definition of what resources they have to answer questions to
include: family members, observations, thought experiments, and peers in addition to
traditional resources like texts and the Interweb.

Students will become more adept at sharing what they have learned.

Students will become confident with quantitative reasoning in order to engage in


conversations about STEM

Students will exhibit habits of mind like curiosity, skepticism, and openness to new ideas.

As a result of these developments, students will begin to view their school as a forum
to explore curiosity.

Ch. 2

One Voice in the

Cosmic Fugue

drop image here

THE

BIG

Construction of the Origin of Life

IDEA(S)

Discusses the creation of life through natural mutations.

STEM
EDUCATORS

People believed that God created the Earth for us or could believe that we adapted to the
Earth as it is.

Knowledge component focusing on EVOLUTION, NATURAL SELECTION, and ARTIFICIAL


SELECTION that have students to use Cosmos as basis so that they will then have enough
knowledge to form their own decision around this Big Idea.

Students make an argument and use this knowledge as Evidence to support their argument

FOR

WHAT THIS MEANS

Ch. 2

PERFORMANCES OF

UNDERSTANDING

Ch. 2

Create a brochure based on conflicting viewpoints of the scientist.


Create an video where you are being interviewed about your ideals
Create an organism that demonstrate adaptation over time.
Create a newspaper article that would reflect that period of time
Students could debate ideals around a common piece of content
Create a timemachine activity where students explore what life would be like during that
time period.
Technology of the time
Use Curriculum from the Evolution MegaLab stem.org.uk/cx3v4

Ch. 3

And if we live in an
unpredictable world, where
things change in random,
or very complex ways, we
would not be able to figure
things out. Again, there
would be no such thing as
science.
The Harmony of Worlds, page 41
Image retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.

org/wiki/Phyllotaxis

THE

BIG

Math and science are interconnected and do not stand alone. One concept lends itself to
understanding another, especially as we acknowledge how they connect across disciplines.

WHAT THIS MEANS

Patterns are EVERYWHERE...

STEM
EDUCATORS

They allow us to question about the relationships around us and the factors that
influence them.

The more things change, the more they stay the same because everything is based on
patterns. The building blocks of math and science allow for sequential learning, determining
how cause and effect relate to understanding the world around us.

FOR

IDEA(S)

Ch. 3

PERFORMANCES OF

Understanding of performances can be identified in several ways:

UNDERSTANDING

Ch. 3

Create your own patterns


Create your own mathematical patterns
Role-play repeated patterns to create harmony
Concept Mapping
Sequence Mapping
Comparing phenomena across disciplines
Analyze scientific data to determine patterns and relationships
Design challenges
Classification sorts

Ch. 4

The Earth is a tiny and fragile world. It needs to be cherished. - Carl Sagan pg. 107

drop image here

Heaven and Hell

"Earth Egg." Flickr. Yahoo!, n.d. Web. 09 July 2015.

THE

BIG

The Cosmos is full of planets with their own conditions however the Earth is the only planet
that we know of that has the unique conditions to support many versions of life.

IDEA(S)

STEM
EDUCATORS

FOR

WHAT THIS MEANS

Ch. 4

Our planet has a unique atmosphere that not only sustains life but protects it; the
composition of gases in the atmosphere and how these gases moderate temperature.
These gases protect the planet from solar radiation and cosmic debris.
The atmosphere of Venus and Mars and how their atmospheres make those planets barren
of life.
Certain conditions are needed to sustain; this includes chemical compositions.
There must be an appreciation of just how unique Earth is within the Cosmos. The
conditions on Earth (how far away we are from the sun, relative size of the Earth, relative
size of the Sun, the star stage of our Sun) make it unique.
Humans impact the Earth in many ways; those human impacts affect its atmosphere and
ecosystems.
The Earth is affected by random cosmic events.

PERFORMANCES OF

UNDERSTANDING

Ch. 4

When given data sets (atmospheric conditions of various planets, distance from the sun,
relative size of the planet compared to the sun), determine whether life as we know can
exist on said planets.

Create an organism that can live on Venus and Mars as it currently exists.

Journal about two factors that could be changed on Venus and Mars so the planets are
able to support life. Include an explanation of what would change about the organism
created.

Debate the immediate and long term effects of a cosmic event on Earth.

Ch. 5

If life on Mars exists, we will have a unique


If
life on Mars
will haveofa our
unique
opportunity
to exists,
test thewe
generality
form of life.
opportunity
to
test
the
generality
of
our
form of life.
And if there is not life on Mars, we must understand
And
if there
is not
on Mars,
we must
understand
whywe
have
thelife
classic
scientific
confrontation
of the
whywe
have
the
classic
scientific
confrontation
the
experiment and the control.
- Cosmos, pg.of133
experiment and the control.
- Cosmos, pg. 133

Blues for a Red Planet


http://en.source.wikipedia/wiki/victoria_(crater)

What is the definition of life?


Cross-contamination
Results can be disproven at any time

WHAT THIS MEANS

STEM
EDUCATORS

Introduce concepts in relationship to the cosmos, the unknown. We dont know what we
are going to find. We are venturing to the unknown.
Our preconceived idea of what life is may be different from what we will find out. Is there
more for you to learn?
There is so much out there that we dont know, and that is okay.
There are multiple ways to get from the known to the unknown (problem solving).
Be persistent.
The cosmos is so vast, but if we together study and discover more about it, the cosmos
do not seem so large. You have to focus to get more out of it.

THE

BIG

FOR

IDEA(S)

Ch. 5

PERFORMANCES OF

Life is the concepts or topics in the curriculum - testing the instrumental knowledge
and the relational understanding. Be able to support ideas and understanding by analyzing,
discussing, and making meaningful connections. Expand upon basic understanding of the
concept of idea.

Various activities or lab experiments looking at cross-contamination.

Show students how different inventions were developed for different reasons. (Example,
silly putty was developed during WWII to find a different way to manufacture rubber
w/o petroleum). Students would then come up with other ideas.

UNDERSTANDING

Ch. 5

Ch. 6

telescope
an extension

The microscope and

represent
of human vision to the
realms of the very small and the

http
s:
kr/p //flic.
/6Jg
w6v
JD H
anco
ck
Orde
Lar
r of
Toas ge
t

very large.
p. 151

Travelers Tales

THE

BIG

The journey is more important than the destination

IDEA(S)

WHAT THIS MEANS


FOR

STEM
EDUCATORS

Ch. 6

As educators, we should allow students to question, internalize, and synthesize the results
of their explorations.

PERFORMANCES OF

UNDERSTANDING

Ch. 6

Keep a journal
Generate a list of observations
What do these observations mean to you?
Produce an artifact
This would communicate understanding from their journey
Peer reflection

Ch. 7

The Backbone of Night

The sky is important. It covers us. It speaks to us. Before the time we found the flame, we
would lie back in the dark and look up at all the points of light. Some points would come
together to make a picture in the sky... Could they be the pictures of the powerful beings in the
sky, the ones who make the storms when angry? (Sagan, page 176).

https://www.flickr.com/photos/29233640@N07/3731507326

THE

BIG

In spite of the best efforts of the mystics to contain scientific inquiry, science trumps
mythology through QUESTIONING and EXPERIMENTATION to make sense of the Cosmos.

Scientific Method: wonder, explore, evaluate


Scientific Inquiry: ask questions, do research
Collaboration: work with peers to further their understanding
Historical knowledge: know origins of scientific method, inquiry
Use a variety of tools to research ideas/concepts
Identify opposing views and present them: craft arguments to address and challenge
misconceptions
Disciplined mind: keep an open mind and challenge dogma

IDEA(S)

WHAT THIS MEANS


FOR

STEM
EDUCATORS

Ch. 7

PERFORMANCES OF

UNDERSTANDING

Ch. 7

Presentations with substance (i.e position paper)


Ask why with supporting reasoning/thought
Perseverance through the cloud. Being okay with having a question and not finding the
pre-selected answer, but being stuck
Questions transform from thin to thick, open-ended
Tweeting about their questions and discoveries to make learning interactive and public
Fluent in using technology to research ideas and to advance their discoveries

Ch. 8

drop image here

-Carl Saganpg. 228

THE

BIG
IDEA(S)

WHAT THIS MEANS


FOR

STEM
EDUCATORS

Time is relative to the speed with which you are traveling.


All celestial beings are born, they live and they die.
Space is immense and mostly empty.

We need to help our students build an understanding...


of the speed of light.
that time is the interval between two events.
that light travels at the same rate from an object whether that object is stationary or
moving?
in the Perception of time and how it changes relative to the speed that you are traveling.
that immense distances allow us to see the past. We dont see events in real time.
of the age of the sun.

Ch. 8

PERFORMANCES OF

UNDERSTANDING

Use a cinema study to investigate the theme of the Theory of Relativity.

Conduct laboratory experiments to study life spans.

Students debate: Has our solar system always existed?

Age appropriate distance graphing exercises/labs.

Use NASA database to investigate the universe.

Ch. 8

using science & pop culture films, i.e. Interstellar, Contact

Hubble Telescope images of the birth of a star.

Ch. 9

The Lives of the Stars

It would be clear from such a world, as it is from ours, how our matter, our form, and much of
our character is determined by the deep connection between life and the Cosmos. (pg. 255)
-Carl Sagan

Paranal Nights". ESO Picture of the Week. Retrieved7 January 2014

THE

BIG

IDEA(S)

WHAT THIS MEANS


FOR

STEM
EDUCATORS

Ch. 9

Everything in the universe is related; from the smallest piece of matter to the largest
collection of matter that has yet to be discovered.
At our very core life is all related, we are all built using common parts.

Concepts have a connection that can be used to relate information to students.


Observations of patterns and cycles can help us understand how things work; both old and
new.
All interdisciplinary concepts can be connected to further student understanding.

PERFORMANCES OF

UNDERSTANDING

Ch. 9

Compare and contrast you and the sun.


Google slide presentation on the evolution of the atom.
Compare and contrast multiplying two polynomials.
Use results from Mendels experiments to explain what possible children could be
produced from two Sesame Street characters.
Peer constructive questioning
Modeling of
Using Venn diagrams to show the relationship of
Presentation on the history of...

Ch. 10

The Edge of Forever

Almost all of modern


cosmology - and especially
the idea of an expanding
universe and a Big Bang - is
based on the idea that the
redshift of distant galaxies is
a Doppler effect and arises
from their speed of
recession. (p 268)
- Carl Sagan

drop image here

ESO/M. Kornmesser - http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1122a/

http://traceywalkerhines.weebly.com/

THE

BIG
IDEA(S)

WHAT THIS MEANS

FOR

STEM
EDUCATORS

Ch. 10

Observed evidence tells us that the universe is expanding and has been doing so since the
big bang.
Theories about the fate of the universe are constantly being argued and revised.
All cultures have myths about the creation of the universe.
The universe began with the big bang.
This theory is based on the doppler effect:
Light from objects that move away from an observer appear more red (redshift)
Aside from a few local galaxies, all of the galaxies observed have a redshift and are
moving away from the Earth
This means that the universe is expanding equally in all directions
Extrapolating this back through time, we rationally arrive at the Big Bang (pop!)
The fate of the universe is still unknown, (expanding infinitely vs. oscillating between big
bangs and big crunches).
Much data has been gathered since this book was published which has supported
the expansion theory but left us with many new questions.
Every culture has a myth about the creation of the universe
These are often beautiful, but are ultimately based on premonitions
Understanding the mind blowing nature of the cosmos requires an understanding of multiple
dimensions (which is inherently very difficult!).

PERFORMANCES OF

UNDERSTANDING

Ch. 10

Students group up and debate on the origins of the universe.


Students develop explanatory models of the big bang
Presentations on culture myths of the origins of the universe
Video/sound scavenger hunt for demonstrations of the doppler effect.
Students can be given new information to explore how the models of the universe have
changed and been refined since the time Sagan wrote this book.

Ch. 11

THE

BIG

Intelligence can be seen in computers, whales, DNA, human brains, and man-made
structures such as cities, libraries, books and satellites). Can it exist in other worlds?

Allows us to to see intelligence as being contained in broader contexts than merely the
brain.
Computers and intelligence - bits and bytes as basic units of information
Consider animal intelligence (as exhibited by whales and their unique mode of
communication)
The role of DNA and other genetic forms of intelligence
Intelligence lies in the brain
The evolutionary aspects of developing human intelligence
Intelligence lies in structures made by humans
Cities, libraries, books, computers, satellites as all being forms of inhabiting
collective intelligence.
The distinct possibility of alien intelligence
The odds for and against
Communicating with alien intelligences (how can it be done)

IDEA(S)

WHAT THIS MEANS


FOR

STEM
EDUCATORS

Ch. 11

PERFORMANCES OF

UNDERSTANDING

Ch. 11

Define intelligence
And its many manifestations on this planet
Recognizing intelligent behavior
Provide examples of intelligence in humans, animals, cities and computers
Discuss how this has implications for the development of alien intelligence
Life on other worlds
Challenges to the origin of life on other worlds
The probability of life on other worlds
Communicating with alien intelligences
Mathematics v.s. Music

Ch. 12

THE

BIG

IDEA(S)

WHAT THIS MEANS

FOR

STEM
EDUCATORS

Ch. 12

Can there be intelligent life elsewhere in the universe


How can we find out
Learning to distinguish between fact and fiction with respect of alien civilizations

Students research the internet and debate the definition of life?


How can be recognize life or intelligent life in other parts of the universe
Truth and fraud in the search for intelligent life
The nature of science and the distinguishing non-science from science
Find examples in the news of non-science and science
Students study the electromagnetic spectrum and the importance of of radio waves for
the search for intelligent life
Students seek to identify the variables that can help predict the evolution of life
Can one compute the probability of intelligent, technologically sophisticated
civilizations in the universe (Drake equation)
Students study the discovery of planets across neighboring stars and the presence
of planets in the Goldilocks zone
Students develop their own messages to send to aliens.

PERFORMANCES OF

UNDERSTANDING

Ch. 12

Students debate and attempt define life. How can we distinguish life from non-life?
Students debate and attempt to define intelligence?
Students explore the idea that computers can be intelligent?
Students play the Turing Test against bots on the Internet?
Watch the moving The imitation game and debate the value of the Turing test
Students explore on the internet and find examples of animal intelligence.
Students attempt to define what makes it different from human intelligence?
Debate questions: Is intelligence an inevitable consequence of evolution?
Does intelligence necessarily mean technological proficiency?
How can one communicate with intelligent beings? Animals? Aliens?

Ch. 13

Chapter 13

Who
Speaks
for
Earth?

drop image here

THE

BIG
IDEA(S)

There is no other species that does science...its not perfect, it can be misused, it is only a tool,
but is by far the best tool that we have. It is self-correcting, on-going, applicable to
everything. pg. 352 Value knowledge and act wisely to pass this knowledge on.
Apply your understanding and share your passion with others to create enthusiasm. We cannot
stand alone.

FOR

WHAT THIS MEANS

STEM

EDUCATORS

Ch. 13

We need to help students...

Understand that science is always evolving.


Critically examine what is known as truth.
Question authority, ask why, explore how.
Develop a passion for the discipline and share it with others.
Apply their understanding, as they are aware that they are a part of a bigger system.
Understand that science is a powerful tool that needs to be wielded responsibly.
See the evolution of technology and its significance in science.
Consider how they impact the system and respond appropriately.

PERFORMANCES OF

UNDERSTANDING

Ch. 13

Research and present theories that have been disproved.


Working in pairs, students are provided a fact. One student provides evidence and
proof that the fact is true. The other student contradicts the evidence to weaken the
validity of the claim.
Students share their curiosities on a Wonder Wall in the classroom.
Students tweet or connect with a field expert around a STEM topic of interest.
Through their discussion with the expert, students are able to explore new levels of
understanding by utilizing probing questions.
Students create independent passion projects (20% time, Genius Hour, etc.). They then
share their inquiry with other students through presentation as well as with family
and community members.
Class participates in a science social activist campaign and educates the community on
environmental issues that challenge them. Students provide potential solutions to
better educate community members.
Students create a social media campaign (YouTube Channel, Instagram hashtag) to
document and share their scientific understanding in an accessible way.
Students role play to debate ethical issues in science.

The End