SpaceMath@NASA introduces students to the use of mathematics in today's scientific discoveries. Through press releases and other articles, explore how mathematics skills are vital in exploring the universe.
- How is mathematics used in science?
- How does simple math help students to understand recent discoveries?
- Where can educators find examples of worked problems in science and engineering?
SpaceMath@NASA has a variety of books, videos and individual posted problems that answer these questions and highlight the math behind scientific discovery. Transit Math Problem Book (20 Mb PDF)
- Problem 465: Comparing Planets Orbiting other Stars with Kepler (PDF)| Students use simple fraction arithmetic to determine the relative sizes of several new planets recently discovered by the Kepler mission, and compare these sizes to that of Jupiter and Earth. They have to work with multiple fraction products to answer each question. You may also come up with new problems by using the drawing that is provided. The numbers below each planet disk represents the radius of each planet in multiples of Earth's radius. A more current diagram with more Kepler planets can be found at http://kepler.nasa.gov/multimedia/artwork/diagrams/?ImageID=191. [Grade: 3-5 | Topics: scale models; proportions; fractions]
- Problem 458: Playing Baseball on the Earth-like Planet Kepler-22b! (PDF) . The recently-confirmed Earth-like planet Kepler-22b by the Kepler Observatory is a massive planet orbiting its star in the temperature zone suitable for liquid water. This problem explores the gravity and mass of this planet, and some implications for playing baseball on its surface! [Grade: 8-10 | Topics: scale models; proportions; scientific notation; metric math; Evaluating equations]
- Problem 402: Kepler- Earth-like planets by the score! II (PDF) Students use recent Kepler satellite data summarized in tabular form to estimate the number of planets in the Milky Way galaxy that are about the same size as our Earth, and located in their Habitable Zones were liquid water may exist. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: Percentage; re-scaling sample sizes] Year 7
- SpaceMath@NASA Problem 396: Kepler 10b - A matter of gravity (PDF). Students use the measured properties of the Earth-like planet Kepler 10b such as its size and density, and by solving Newtons formula for gravity, they determine the weight of a 100 kilogram human standing on the planet's surface.