Plant an Ozone Monitoring Garden

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Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
6 7 8 9
Organization:American Geosciences Institute (AGI); Earth Science Week (ESW); National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Summary:To measure ozone in the Earth's atmosphere, NASA built the approximately 6-500-pound Aura satellite. The spacecraft carries four high-tech instruments that scan the globe from more than 700 kilometers above the planet. For students, there is an easy way to investigate ozone in their own neighborhood. It's as simple as growing a few carefully selected plants. Teams of scientists and educators at NASA are showing how this can be done. They have installed ozone-monitoring gardens at several NASA centers. Ozone, a molecule made up of three oxygen atoms, can be both good and bad, depending on its location. It's good to have ozone high up in the atmosphere , in the stratosphere , where it occurs naturally and protects humans and other living things from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. It's bad to have ozone in the lower atmosphere , in the troposphere , where it forms when pollution from cars, factories, and other manmade sources interacts with sunlight.
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 3; Big Idea 6
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS3.C
NGSS Performance Expectations:MS-ESS3-3
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation
Subjects: atmosphere; earth science week; space; weather
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