Students will use satellite images, population data, and local city data to study human impact on the environment. The lesson is written in the 5E learning model, which includes five phases: engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate.

Learning outcomes

  • Students will analyze satellite images and make predictions.
  • Students will plot population and acreage data.
  • Students will analyze graphed data to make predictions for the future.
  • Students will review a planned experiment and make suggestions for improvement.

Teacher planning

Time required

3 to 4 class periods

Materials needed

  • color satellite images of a local area, laminated (1 per 2 students)
  • wet-erase markers (1 per 2 students)
  • dictionary or computer to look up definitions
  • graph paper
  • calculators

Student handouts

Satellite image analysis worksheet
Open as PDF (8 KB, 2 pages; also available as Microsoft Word document)
Population predictions worksheet
Open as PDF (210 KB, 2 pages; also available as Microsoft Word document)
Change over time experimental design graphic organizer
Open as PDF (125 KB, 3 pages; also available as Microsoft Word document)
Experimental design analysis worksheet
Open as PDF (128 KB, 2 pages; also available as Microsoft Word document)
Past Raleigh population and acreage data since 1800
Open as PDF (24 KB, 1 page; also available as Microsoft Word document)

Technology resources

A computer with a connection to the internet is needed to gather satellite images.

Activities

Engage

  1. Ask students what satellite images are used for. Have them generate a list of ideas and share with the class.
  2. Next, ask the students what kinds of things may make satellite images difficult to interpret. (clouds, smoke, resolution, etc.)

Explore

  1. Provide each pair of students with a laminated, color satellite image of Falls Lake, or whatever water source they previously studied. Choose an image that is distant and may have some difficulty in being labeled. These can be found easily on Google maps (be sure to remove the labels first). The images should be laminated to allow them to be used multiple times.
  2. Provide the students with a wet-erase marker and ask them to label as many images as they can identify on the image.

Explain

  1. The students should complete the questions in the satellite image analysis worksheet.

Elaborate

  1. Distribute the City of Raleigh’s publication, Past Raleigh Population and Acreage Data Since 1800, to the students.
  2. Students will plot two graphs to display the population growth of Raleigh and the increase in the size of the city.
  3. Using the population predictions worksheet, students should create two separate graphs to show the data. The X-axis (years) should be the same for both graphs.
  4. Students will then answer the questions that go along with their graph. They will be finding the slope of the line, or growth rate, at various time periods. Students will then use the most relevant rate to make predictions on the future size of Raleigh.

Evaluate

  1. The students will be evaluating the completed Change Over Time experimental design graphic organizer and procedure description designed to test shoreline recession in a drought on Falls Lake.
  2. The students will review the pre-made plan and look for the faults in the experimental design. The experimental design analysis worksheet is provided that will help the students look carefully at all aspects of the experiment.

Assessment

See Evaluate portion of the lesson.

Modifications

  1. The experimental design graphic organizer can be edited for any motor-skill deficiencies by making it larger, or making it available to be typed on.
  2. All basic modifications can be used for these activities.

Supplemental information

This is a list of all the attachments used in this lesson.

Satellite image analysis worksheet
Open as PDF (8 KB, 2 pages; also available as Microsoft Word document)
Population predictions worksheet
Open as PDF (210 KB, 2 pages; also available as Microsoft Word document)
Change over time experimental design graphic organizer
Open as PDF (125 KB, 3 pages; also available as Microsoft Word document)
Experimental design analysis worksheet
Open as PDF (128 KB, 2 pages; also available as Microsoft Word document)
Past Raleigh population and acreage data since 1800
Open as PDF (24 KB, 1 page; also available as Microsoft Word document)

Critical vocabulary

  • satellite imagery
  • spectral analysis
  • reflectance curves
  • ground truthing

Comments

This lesson is part of the Critical Thinking in Science unit and relies on the inquiry skills and vocabulary practiced in the first two lessons (Introduction to Experimental Design and The Story of Pi). This lesson should be used while teaching Goal 5 of the science curriculum for grade 8 in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, which focuses on using technologies and information systems to study change over time. Students are designing their own experiments to improve their ability to approach problems and questions scientifically. By developing their ability to reason through problems they are becoming critical thinkers.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • History/Social Studies

        • Grades 6-8
          • 6-8.LH.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • Grade 8

        • 8.G.1 Understand the geographic factors that influenced North Carolina and the United States. 8.G.1.1 Explain how location and place have presented opportunities and challenges for the movement of people, goods, and ideas in North Carolina and the United States....
        • 8.H.1 Apply historical thinking to understand the creation and development of North Carolina and the United States. 8.H.1.1 Construct charts, graphs, and historical narratives to explain particular events or issues. 8.H.1.2 Summarize the literal meaning of...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Science (2005)

Grade 8

  • Goal 1: The learner will design and conduct investigations to demonstrate an understanding of scientific inquiry.
    • Objective 1.01: Identify and create questions and hypotheses that can be answered through scientific investigations.
    • Objective 1.02: Develop appropriate experimental procedures for:
      • Given questions.
      • Student generated questions.
    • Objective 1.04: Analyze variables in scientific investigations:
      • Identify dependent and independent.
      • Use of a control.
      • Manipulate.
      • Describe relationships between.
      • Define operationally.
    • Objective 1.05: Analyze evidence to:
      • explain observations.
      • make inferences and predictions.
      • develop the relationship between evidence and explanation.
    • Objective 1.06: Use mathematics to gather, organize, and present quantitative data resulting from scientific investigations:
      • Measurement.
      • Analysis of data.
      • Graphing.
      • Prediction models.
    • Objective 1.08: Use oral and written language to:
      • Communicate findings.
      • Defend conclusions of scientific investigations.
      • Describe strengths and weaknesses of claims, arguments, and/or data.
  • Goal 5: The learner will conduct investigations and utilize appropriate technologies and information systems to build an understanding of evidence of evolution in organisms and landforms.
    • Objective 5.04: Analyze satellite imagery as a method to monitor Earth from space:
      • Spectral analysis.
      • Reflectance curves.
    • Objective 5.05: Use maps, ground truthing and remote sensing to make predictions regarding:
      • Changes over time.
      • Land use.
      • Urban sprawl.
      • Resource management.