MISSION 2 MARS
by Jeremy Smoyer

SUBJECT:
Algebra

TOPIC:
Scientific Notation


Jeremy Smoyer
To obtain a downloadable copy of the worksheet that accompanies this bulletin board, click on the button below.

TITLE: Mission 2 Mars

SUBJECT: This bulletin board is designed for use in the Algebra classroom.

TOPIC: This board is designed to interactively work with students on the concept of Scientific Notation.

INTERACTIVITY: Below is the directions that were provided to students in the handout on how to use the "Calculatron" to help them convert a decimal number to scientific notation

  • Write each digit of the distance into the calculatron.
  • Place the red decimal point at the end of the number.
  • Then move the decimal point to the left until it is to the right of the first non-zero digit. Make sure to count how many times you move it!!
  • Erase all the zero digits after the decimal.
  • Fill in the scientific notation as ""

They will use these steps in order to use the interactive "Calculatron" found on the board. The steps are then reversed in order to covert from scientific notation to decimal form.

DIRECTIONS FOR USE: The directions for use are part of the introduction and part of the steps for use the interactive component of the bulletin board. They are listed below as they appear in the handout the students use to work with the board.

Welcome cadets!! You are about to embark on a fantastic journey through the cosmos. You are nearing the final steps of becoming one of the few 7th Grade students to be selected to go on the first Mars mission. Before you are selected for the crew the agency needs to verify your ability to work with the large numbers associated with the distance between planets. How are you supposed to travel there if you don’t know the distance, right?

To help us out with this the agency has provided us the Calculatron to help convert the distances. Use the directions below to convert the distances between the planets from decimal for to scientific notation.

Look at the example below to see how the Calculatron works. Then covert the listed planets and fill the answers in on the line.

TIME: This activity should take approximately 10-15 minutes to learn how to use and then complete the worksheet designed for extra credit.

SPECIAL CONSTRUCTION: This board is made with a 2-layer system. There are actually 2 pieces of the black background paper used. The first one contains 2 major components of the project. There is the planetary map that will later be covered so it resembles being looked at on a futuristic view screen. There is also a "whiteboard" that is attached and will also be through to the front of the project.

The "whiteboard" is constructed from a piece of melamine wood paneling that is available at any local hardware store. Its glossy smooth front surface allows dry erase markers to be used and then erase with ease. Using this type of material allowed me to cut and shape what I needed without having to buy and destroy a store bought whiteboard.

Rectangles were then cut out of the 2nd outer layer to allow the planetary map and whiteboard to show through. These were then later edged to give the bulletin board a smooth clean look. Velcro was added to the bottom of the whiteboard to move the red "decimal point" as the scientific notation was computed.

Foil was used as a background for the data tables and also to edge the whiteboard for a futuristic appealing look. I also constructed this project with no visible staples. Everything was attached with a type of 2-sided adhesive that went on with a roller. The entire project was stapled up for attachment but those staples were covered with the boarder.

CREDIT: Students are informed in the activity handout that they will be received "mission" (extra) credit for completing this activity.

OTHER COMMENTS: A dry erase marker and eraser needs to be provided for this activity. It is best to supply your own with the project so a student doesn’t mistakenly use a permanent one and ruin the whiteboard.

Jeremy Smoyer
4/8/04