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FOSS Planetary Science Investigation 8: Moon Rocks (5 days)
Big Idea
Active geological processes have destroyed or altered most of the very early rock record on Earth, some other objects in the solar system, such as asteroids and meteorites, have changed little over billions of years. Studying these objects can help scientist deduce the solar system's age and history, including the formation of planet Earth. Study of other planets and their moons, many of which exhibit such features as volcanism and meteor impacts similar to those found on Earth, also help illuminate aspects of Earth's history and changes. (K-12 Framework: ESS1.C)
Essential Questions
What are the observable properties of the moon rock samples?
How are the rock samples different in the mare sites than the highland sites?
How can density be calculated for different substances?
How does density explain the theory of how Moon rocks formed and why they are located where they are on the Moon?

Explain the role of a hypothesis in a scientific inquiry.
Communicate the results of an investigation with appropriate use of qualitative and quantitative information.
Describe how scientific knowledge is subject to change as new information and/or technology challenges prevailing theories.
Perform measurements using appropriate scientific tools (e.g., balances, microscopes, probes, micrometers).
Identify how diverse people and/or cultures, past and present, have made important contributions to scientific innovations (e.g., Rachel Carson [scientist], supports Strand 4; Luis Alvarez [scientist] and Walter Alvarez [scientist], support Strand 6; Percival Lowell [scientist], supports Strand 6; Copernicus [scientist], supports Strand 6).
Describe a scientific discovery that influences technology.
Analyze results of data collection in order to accept or reject the hypothesis.
Describe how a major milestone in science or technology has revolutionized the thinking of the time (e.g., global positioning system, telescopes, seismographs, photography).
Describe the properties and the composition of the following major layers of the Earth
  • crust
  • mantle
  • core
Formulate a conclusion based on data analysis.
Analyze the impact of a major scientific development occurring within the past decade.
Describe how the rock and fossil record show that environmental conditions have changed over geologic and recent time.
Use a key to identify rock samples. Calculate density of rock samples found on the moon. Observe the properties of rocks.
Science & Engineering Practices
Moon Rock Survey
  • Asking Questions
  • Planning and carrying Out an Investigation
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Moon Rock Survey
  • Asking Questions
  • Planning and Carrying Out an Investigation
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
Density Lab
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
Lunar Density Lab
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Using Mathematical and Compuational Thinking
Content/Core Ideas
  • The moon is composed of rocks and minerals similar to those found on Earth, including basalt, breccia, pyroxene, ilmenite, feldspar, and olivine.
  • On the moon denser minerals are in low-lying; less-dense minerals are in the highlands.
  • Sedimentary rocks do not exist on the Moon because there is no atmosphere, no water, no wind, and no weather.
Learning Practices
CC:7.SL.4:  students hold a Moon Rock Conference
CC:7.SL.1:  discussion on density lab results
CC:7.RI.1  Read Top 10 Scientific Discoveries Made during Apollo Exploration of the Moon
CC:7.SL.1:  discussion on lunar density
CC:7.RI.1 Read Moon Rock Formation
Academic Vocabulary
  • density
  • volume
  • mass
  • lunar density
Mid-summative Exam 8
Indentify Samples
Lunar Density