LESSON 1 - What are we looking at?

Students will:

  • Use different perspectives to gather information about a given area.
  • Discuss the advantages of different perspectives.

Materials Needed:

Pennies (per student or group)

Perspective Pictures


Take students to a grassy area outside and give them a random number of pennies. Tell them that they are farmers and they need to study their land. The pennies will represent the dead crops on their farm and the grass will represent their land. Have them toss the pennies onto the grass. Then, have them lay on their stomach, so that they are at eye-level with the grass, and count the pennies. Then, have them stand up and count the pennies. Bring them back to the classroom and ask "As a farmer, would you rather study your farm from the ground or from the air? Why?" Discuss briefly.


Begin the activity by reading this scenario to students. "Farmer John noticed that plants growing next to the river were sick. He thinks it could be the water." Show picture 1. Ask students to form hypotheses on what could affect the water quality of the river. Create a list on the board. One prediction may be the train. Continue by showing picture 2. Ask students if this picture changes their hypotheses. Have them modify their list. Repeat this procedure for pictures 3 and 4.


Discuss the advantages of the various pictures. Compare this with satellite images. Ask students why people would use satellite images rather than photos taken from the ground.


Ask students to watch the weather forecast on television for the next three days. Have them compare and contrast the local weather image and the national weather image. Which one provides more information? Which image allows them to predict next week’s weather?


Have students write a scenario where an aerial or satellite perspective would give them more information than photos taken from the ground.

Tips for Teachers

  • Perspective pictures - If student copies cannot be provided, print color transparencies. Or, if possible, display the web site on a television in the classroom.


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NASA Official: Ruth Netting
Last Updated: March 27, 2007
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