MGS related activity


From: L*y Marske <lmarske@mtc1.mtcnet.net>
Subject: MGS related activity
Date: Fri, 15 Nov 1996 15:20:47 -0800


Hi everyone,
    I've been very busy with parent teacher conferences, etc., but wanted 
to take this time to also express how excited my kids were to watch the 
launch of the MGS.  We looked at the NASA cam pictures Nov. 5, watched 
the scrubbed launch on Nov. 6 and cheered when the MGS finally launced 
Nov. 7.  Some of the 85 students gathered around our one internet 
connection in the library and some watched the CNN broadcast in a small 
room off the library, and then I showed all of them the tape the next 
day.  It was neat to see their interest.
     In connection with the P.E.T. activity and the launch and especially 
with the Thermal Emmission Spectrometer, one of the instruments on the 
MGS, I did an activity I'd like to share with everyone.
     I explained that the TES will use infrared waves to identify 
different minerals, rocks, etc. on Mars.  I showed the students the 
electromagnetic spectrum and briefly talked about it telling them the 
infrared waves were used by the TES.  Then my neat activity was to go to 
the wrestling room, where it can get nice and dark, and using the 
overhead and a prism I showed them the visible part of the spectrum.  
Then I used 6 light boxes I had made several years ago.   Each one has 
three slits with  three colored cellophane pieces (red, blue, green).  
Using mirrors students combine the lights to make as many different 
colors they can until some discover that if they put all three 
colors together they make white.  I point out that they did the exact 
opposite of what I did with the prism.  Then I had a variety of rocks 
that the students looked at in the different colors of light.  I pointed 
out that the different rocks looked different depending on the light on 
it or because of the different minerals in the rocks.   Then I explained 
that was kind of how the TES worked.  Different minerals look differently 
using infrared waves just like they looked different under our lights.  
Using this method and knowing what the minerals are supposed to look like 
using infrared, they could identify the minerals of substances on Mars.  
The kids loved the activity, and I guess the teacher did too.
     Looking forward to the first LFM broadcast Nov. 19.  Actually it's a 
busy day because right after the broadcast we will be going to a concert 
presented by our local community orchestra.  We won't be able to 
participate in the web chats, we have limited access to the internet 
anyway.  But hopefully we can add our questions  over my personal e-mail.
  Too bad the orchestra isn't going to perform Holst's The Planets, 
especially the Mars part.  By the way I happen to play violin in the 
orchestra too so I'll be wearing my formal blacks that day and rush from 
our broadcast to the auditorium to perform for the kids.  Never a dull 
moment.
Lucy Marske
Sioux Center Middle School
Sioux Center, IA  51250