Event-Based Science

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Event-Based Science meets National Science Education Standards!


Event-Based Science is a new way to teach middle school science. It is an award-winning, standards-based program in which newsworthy events establish the relevance of science topics; authentic tasks create the need-to-know more about those topics; and lively interviews, photographs, Web pages, and inquiry-based science activities create a desire to know more about those topics.

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Asteroid!Asteroid! is an Event-Based Science module that is primarily about astronomy, with a minor emphasis on paleontology. It uses an asteroid impact with Earth about 65 million years ago to establish the context for exploring concepts related to solar-system astronomy. The task in Asteroid! makes students a public relations firm hired by the United Nations to warn the people of Earth about a new asteroid. This one will impact with us in about two years.

NSTA Recommends Asteroid!

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As with all Event-Based Science modules, much of the information that students need is provided in the pages of Asteroid!. However, more information is needed. Hubble space telescope images of our neighboring planets and their moons will be useful with the Solar System Business Guide science activity or its new replacement activity It May Be Our Only Escape. Information about extinction events will help with Time After Time.


"It May Be Our Only Escape"

The Event-Based Science Project has posted an alternate Asteroid! science activity on our Web site. It May Be Our Only Escape is an activity that can be used as a replacement activity for Solar System Business Guide. Although both activities provide students with a reason to investigate similarities and differences among the planets and their moons, It May Be Our Only Escape provides a reason that is more clearly tied to the TASK.

Shuttle Launch
Space Shuttle Launch - NASA

Correction Alert

There is a problem with the answer key to Math: Asteroids and Acceleration. On page 22 of the Teacher's Guide the estimated arrival time for the asteroid is incorrect. The correct estimate from the table is 91.0 minutes.

Thanks to Al Levendosky of Farquhar Middle School, Olney, MD for catching this error and providing the correct answers.

Asteroid! Resources

A "pdf" file containing web sites, books, material lists, and correlations with National Science Education Standards.
Use the BACK button in your browser to return to this page.

HTML Version

EBS Breaking News 
Click here to use Google News to search and browse 4,500 continuously updated news sources for breaking news about asteroids.

Latest Info on Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Another problem is found on page 43 of some early printings of the Student Edition. The right-hand column of the data table should read as follows:


Distance Around Orbit Loop

Distance Between Sun Pin and Second Pin


13.0 cm

2.0 cm


17.6 cm

2.2 cm


24.2 cm

2.6 cm


39.8 cm

6.0 cm


140.0 cm

63.0 cm

Thanks to the fifth grade at Holton Arms School, Bethesda, MD, for catching this error and providing correct answers. (Paul Cummins is their teacher.)

Below are some World-Wide Web sites where information is available. Click on the highlighted words and be linked with sites where helpful information can be found.

Links to Asteroid! related WEB Sites
(Links are checked monthly. They were working on the date of the last update.)

  • Near-Earth Object Program Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) are comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth's neighborhood. This site from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab gives each NEO its own home page and a Java applet showing its orbit.
  • Secret Worlds: The Universe Within View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.

Deep Impact NASA's Deep Impact probe produced the bright flash shown in the picture below. Click here to learn more about this successful NASA mission to  Comet Tempel 1.

  • Astronomy Picture of the Day Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
  • Dawn  The NASA Discovery mission called Dawn is on a voyage to investigate the asteroids Ceres and Vesta as well as the conditions and processes of the early solar system. Dawn is now orbiting Vesta and sending back images of its surface. Dawn is schedule to leave Vesta in July 2012 and arrive at Ceres in February 2015.

  • Near Earth Object Fact Sheet This list shows selected near Earth objects (NEO's) with close approaches to Earth in the past and to the year 2100. The probability of any of these objects hitting the Earth on these approaches is essentially zero. There are no known NEO's on a collision course with the Earth. There is a possibility that an as yet undiscovered large NEO may hit the Earth, but the probability of this happening over the next 100 years is extremely small.


  • Solar System Collisions This interactive site at the University of Maryland Astronomy Department allows you to send an asteroid or comet hurtling toward your favorite planet! You select the size, speed and target. The site tells you what happens.
  • Heavens-Above If you're interested in satellites or astronomy, this is the right place! This site provides all the information needed to observe; satellites, Mir and the International Space Station, the Space Shuttle the dazzlingly bright flares from Iridium satellites as well as a wealth of other spaceflight and astronomical information.
  • NASA's Mission to the Iturralde Structure A crater-like structure was discovered in 1985 by Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery in northwest Bolivia. The area with the possible crater is at the southern limit of the tropical forest where the forest abruptly gives way to pampas. This NASA Web site lets students conduct "Pre-Mission Activities" on Remote Sensing, Soil Testing, Impact Craters, & Biodiversity, and then participate in a real expedition.
  • Artists conception of the asteroid impact at Chicxulub.
    The Chicxulub Impact from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    • Impact News The scientific dispute over what caused the extinction of 70 percent of all species worldwide 65 million years ago is closer to a resolution, with new research by scientists from UCLA and the University of Washington. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
  • Meteorite Central has the latest news on the interesting, addictive, and profitable past-time of collecting these beautiful pieces of space!
  • Terrestrial Impact Craters This site contains everything you ever wanted to know about impact craters on Earth. It contains photographs of many of the craters mentioned throughout Asteroid!.
  • Teacher Page: Impact Craters This site contains a cratering activity similar to Crater Creator in Asteroid!. It also shows the characteristics of a lunar impact crater on a labeled photograph of the Lunar Crater Aristarchus, located West of Mare Imbrium.
  • Sunspot Archive This chart shows the annual average of daily sunspot readings beginning in 1700. The numbers are compiled from measurements made by a worldwide network of cooperating observatories. Open this data file with Microsoft Excel.
  • Chicxulub Crater Video

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