Lesson Title: Race To The Moon
Curriculum Area: Math
Technology Strand: Societal Issues
Grade Level: 8
Essential Question: How can linear equations be used to solve distance problems?
A Activity Summary Students will use the TI-83 Plus calculator to solve distance problems using linear equations.
C Curriculum Math
5.03 Solve problems using linear equations and inequalities; justify symbolically and graphically.
T Technology Societal Issues
3.01 Select and use a variety of technology tools to collect, analyze, and present information.  
Activating Strategies
Carousel Brainstorming
Purpose: To activate students' prior knowledge of a topic or topics through movement and conversation.
Description: While Carousel Brainstorming, students will rotate around the classroom in small groups, stopping at various stations for a designated amount of time. While at each station, students will activate their prior knowledge of different topics or different aspects of a single topic through conversation with peers. Ideas shared will be posted at each station for all groups to read. Through movement and conversation, prior knowledge will be activated, providing scaffolding for new information to be learned in the proceeding lesson activity.
1. Generate 4 questions for your topic of study and write each question on a separate piece of poster board or chart paper. (Note: The number of questions should reflect the number of groups you intend to use during this activity.) Post questions sheets around your classroom.

2. Divide your students into groups of 5 or less. For example, in a classroom of 30 students, you would divide your class into 6 groups of five that will rotate around the room during this activity.

3. Direct each group to stand in front of a homebase question station. Give each group a colored marker for writing their ideas at the question stations. It is advisable to use a different color for tracking each group.

4. Inform groups that they will have 3 number of minutes to brainstorm and write ideas at each question station. Usually 2-3 minutes is sufficient. When time is called, groups will rotate to the next station in clockwise order. Numbering the stations will make this easy for students to track. Group 1 would rotate to question station 2; Group 2 would rotate to question station 3 and so on.

5. Using a stopwatch or other timer, begin the group rotation. Continue until each group reaches their last question station.

6. Before leaving the final question station, have each group select the top 3 ideas from their station to share with the entire class.


1. What special conditions must be considered for working on the moon?
2. What methods can be used to calculate the distance to the moon?
3. What resources will be required to sustain life on the moon?
4. Who should be selected to go? Why?
Technology Vocabulary:
Detailed Technology Instructions:
Cognitive Teaching Strategies
Four Corners
Purpose:To stimulate student learning through movement and discussion.
Generate a controversial scenario related to your topic of study. Formulate four divergent opinions related to the scenario. Post these on chart paper in the four corners of your classroom.
Present the controversial scenario to your students.
Ask students to move to one of the four corners. Students should move to the corner with the statement that most closely fits their opinion of the controversial scenario.
Description: Students will be presented with a controversial scenario. What would be the best method of winning the race? The distance from the Earth to the moon is 240,000 miles and the shuttle can travel at an average rate of 9286 miles an hour but must use 6.5 days in order to reload, refuel, and complete maintenance after each trip.
Note: The race is won when all necessary supplies are transported to the moon.

Option 1: Use current shuttle (ready for immeadiate flight) which would necessitate 4 trips to the moon.
Option 2: Wait 30 days for the completion of the new and improved shuttle which could transport all supplies in one trip.
Option 3: Wait 10 days until moon is closer to Earth which will reduce the total distance the shuttle will have to travel by 120,000 miles.
Option 4: Increase the speed of the shuttle to 18,572 miles per hour by reducing cargo and increasing the fuel. This would result in 5 trips instead of 4 with a refueling delay of only 4.5 days per trip.
In each of the four corners of the classroom, an opinion about the scenario will be posted. Students will then write linear equations for the time necessary to complete each trip. They will graph each equation in the calculator and compare the curves. They will use legos to model the linear equations.
Each yellow lego will represent 120,000 miles.
Each red lego represents a rate of 9286 miles per hour.
Each blue lego represents 12 hours of delay.
Summary Strategies
Exit Slips(also called One Sentence Summaries)
Purpose: To engage students in summarizing their learning
Description: Using this strategy, students will synthesize learned information, skills, and processes by writing an Exit Slip. An Exit Slip can be a One Sentence Summary of what students learned or can be used in a variety of other ways. Other uses are: to answer a review question, to pose a question related to the topic studied, to make a short list of facts learned, to set a learning goal for the next day, etc.
Prior to using the Exit Slip as a summary activity in your classroom, decide upon its purpose (including whether or not it will be used as an assessment or evaluation tool). During the last 5-10 minutes of class, inform students of the purpose/task associated with their Exit Slip.
Tell students to take out a half-sheet of paper and complete the assigned Exit Slip. As students exit your classroom that day, collect their Exit Slips as a pass out the door.
Hint: Exit Slips are a great way to assess your own teaching. They will often indicate whether or not students understood the presented material. When used to pose a question, they can provide discussion questions for the next day's lesson.
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TI 83 Plus Calculator
1 Bag of red, blue, and yellow Legos per team
4 poster boards or chart paper
Re-teaching and Enrichment Activities

The concept for this lesson plan was submitted by 
Ramine  Ettefagh
Mendenhall Middle, Data last modified: 7/23/2006