Students develop models for a light year and compare numbers written in scientific notation and in standard notation.

Before the Activity

Understand that light travels at 186,000 miles per second and that the distance that light travels in a year is called a light year

See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity

Print pages 42 - 44 from the attached Student PDF file for the class

During the Activity

Distribute the pages to the class.

Follow the activity procedures:

Calculate how far light travels in a second, in a minute, in an hour, in a day, and in a year; and write the values in both, scientific and standard notations

Determine the exact value of a light year and note the calculator key stroke sequence that gives this value

Calculate the number of light years it would take Chris to travel a distance of 3000 miles each week for a period of 10 years

Compute the number of trips one would need to make around the equator (circumference 24,000 miles) to travel 186,000 miles

Find out how far a space-shuttle could travel in one year, if its speed is 17,500 miles per hour

Determine the number of years it would take to reach the star Alpha Centauri, which is around 4 light years away from Earth

After the Activity

Students complete the Student Activity pages.

Review student results

As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging