Here is a Word version of this document: Powers of 10 Class Activity.
I learned a lot creating Tick Bait’s Universe. I had to research topics to identify what content would be appropriate to put at each magnification level. This involved researching very small and very large scientific concepts. I had to measure the items on each page to make sure they were the right scale. This involved a lot basic math. I had to constantly convert between feet, millimeters, angstroms, and light years back to meters. It was a very educational experience for me.
Why not replicate this learning experience for the kids in your class? Have the whole class create a Power of 10 project. From this exercise kids will:
- Research some really big or very small scientific concepts
- Define the scale of those objects
- Deal with math concepts such as scientific notation and conversion
Also, this will make a cool illustrative display in any classroom.
Before You Begin
- Decide whether this is an individual project or a group project.
- Decide the range you want to cover. Do you want to:
- Just zoom up to study the atmosphere and astronomy
(For example page 100 to 1020)
- Just zoom down to study the microscopic world
(For example page 100 to 10-20)
- Or a little bit of up and down
(For example page 10-10 to 1010)
The size of your range will be dependent on how many kids or teams you have doing the project.
Kick off the Activity in Class
- Start by presenting Tick Bait’s Universe to your class. This will provide a model for your students of what to create. Also, Tick Bait’s Universe makes for an educational presentation. Please see Tick Bait’s Presentation tips in my website.
- From the range you selected, assign one power of 10 magnification level (such as 10-4, 106, 1017, etc.…) to each student, or team.Note – I would not assign page 100. I would do this as a class. See step 6 below.
- Tell each student or team of students to:
- Research what is small or large enough to see in each of their magnification levels. For example, if they were assigned 102 they need to identify something that fits in a square whose sides are 100 meters long.
- Create a “to scale” illustration of the topic they chose to cover in their magnification level. Students could do the pictures by hand with crayons, markers, etc., but it might also be a good activity for the kids to do in PowerPoint.
Here is a Power of 10 PowerPoint template to use in your class. Empty Power of 10 Class Activity Template
- Create a “fact sheet” for any interesting information about what is being illustrated.
- As a class, select the starting point of your “Power of 10” activity. That is, select what object you want on your page 100. I started from a dirty dog in a backyard. Where does your class want to start?
- I recommend starting from 1) something that fits in a 1 meter square and 2) something that is living, because this provides smaller living things to zoom down on.
- Ask for a volunteer to create page 100 (for extra credit??)
- Have the kids start their research.
Present and Display the “Power of 10” Illustrations
- When all students are finished with their illustration and fact sheet have a class presentation where each child presents their work to the rest of the class.Have the presentations go in order starting from page 100.
- Make sure each kid or team also presents their fact sheet to explain what is in their picture, its scale and how it fits into the universe.
- Optional – Present Tick Bait’s Universe again – Kid will have new insights into these concepts after doing it themselves. This will lead to some very rich discussion.
- Display the children’s work linearly on the classroom wall. That would make a cool and illustrative classroom decoration.
- Please send me, Marc Gamble, any work your kids have done to firstname.lastname@example.org, because as Tick Bait’s Dad, I would love to see it.