


Mathematics Skill or Topic Area: Rational Number Operations 

Next Gen Science Standards ESS1: Earth’s Place in the Universe; ETS2: Links Among Engineering, Technology, Science, and Society Common Core ELA for Science: RST.68.2. Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions. RST.68.8. Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in a text. RST.68.9. Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic. Common Core Math Standard: CC.8.NS.1: Know that numbers that are not rational are called irrational. Understand informally that every number has a decimal expansion; for rational numbers show that the decimal expansion repeats eventually, and convert a decimal expansion which repeats eventually into a rational number.


Video Engagement: Satellites and Solar Eruptions Learn about twin satellites NASA launched to collect data about the sun and find out why we study the sun and what scientists learn from these missions (5 minutes). View Program 


Explore math connections with SpaceMath@NASA 

Problem I  CMEs and Rational Numbers  Between 1996 and 2006, astronomers detected 11,000 CME events. If 600 of these CMEs were directed towards Earth, write the simplified fraction that expresses how many of the total CMEs from the sun were directed towards Earth. [Answer: 600/11000 simplifies to 6/110 and then to the final answer of 3/55] Problem II  Exploring Solar Storms.  During the last sunspot cycle from 1996 to 2008 there were 600 CMEs directed towards Earth. 1/6 of these CMEs occurred at the same time as major Xclass solar flares that disrupted radio communication on Earth. If 1/5 of the Xclass flares also produced major radiation storms that affected satellites in space, how many of the CMEs produced major radiation storms? [Answer: 600 x 1/6 x 1/5 = 20 CMEs] Problem III  CME Travel Times A CME left the sun and was observed by the STEREO satellites as it traveled towards Earth. It passed Mercury in 19 hours and Venus after another 30 hours had passed. If Venus is located 7/10 of the distance between Earth and the Sun, after how many elapsed hours will the CME reach Earth? [Answer: Use the information above to draw a diagram of the orbits before you attempt to work this problem. The total elapsed time to get to Venus was 49 hours. During this time it traveled 7/10 of the distance to Earth. So, to reach Earth, we must solve the equation 7/10 T = 49 hours and so T = 70 hours.] Explain your thinking: Write your own problem  Using information found in the Math Connection problems, the press release or the video program, create your own math problem. Explain why you set the problem up this way, and how you might find its answer. Evaluate your understanding: Challenge Problem: Tracking a Major CME to Earth  On March 8, 2012 a major CME left the sun. Mercury is 1/3 the distance between Earth and the Sun and the CME passed the orbit of Mercury in 16 hours. If Venus is located 7/10 of the distance between Earth and the Sun, how long did the CME take to travel between Venus and Earth? [Answer: Use the information above to draw a diagram of the orbits before you attempt to work this problem. The distance from Venus to Earth is 3/10 the EarthSun distance. The CME took 16 hours to travel 1/3 the EarthSun distance. Solving the proportion: 16/(1/3) = X/(3/10) so 48 = 10x/3. Then X = 144/10. So it will take 14.4 hours to travel from Venus to Earth.


NASA / JPL 3D Solar System 

Extend your new knowledge  The two STEREO spacecraft take pictures of the sun from two different vantage points along Earth's orbit. In this exercise, students use the EOSS simulator and explore the location and movement of the twin STEREO spacecraft while working with fractions and mixed numbers. [ Open PDF ] 
