Aliens, Planets and Nebulae! Mission 6: La Poisson System has a Density Problem


Mission: La Poisson System has a density problem (Poisson as in french for fish and not the Poisson Distribution)

L’Eau Qui Tourne

Level(1-5): 3 (Risk of crushing, gargantuan underwater apes, and sea fleas)

Location: La Poisson System on the second galactic arm

Description: La Poisson is a system of planets that have no land masses. They are a layer of ice, then water, and very deep there is solid land from meteors and debris.

The third planet in the system, L’Eau Qui Tourne, has started mining a new oily substance from its depths called SLICK. Unfortunately they had a factory accident and have leaked SLICK into the hydrosphere. This substance is tricky. It floats to the surface, but then when it gets close to the ice, it gets super dense and sinks until it warms up again and floats. This behaviour has created havoc for sea life and has made clean-up extremely difficult.

MASS has contacted your crew to aid in clean-up strategies. Keep in mind that the crew’s spaceship is made to exist in the vacuum of space. This mission has the opposite pressure situation that the ship is designed for. There are also gargantuan sea apes (about the size of a blue whale)and sea fleas (that leave a lifetime of itching).

Assignment: Your crew will need to create a vehicle that can go to the capital city of L’Eau Qui Tourne called H2O and visit with its leaders. Next, your crew will need to create a solution to clean up the SLICK spill that the planet can implement.

Note: This is a good time for the facilitator to add conditions for solutions to incorporate other subjects (science, history, writing).

Ability Point Potential (rough rubric):

  • 2 ability points will be awarded for a successful submarine
  • 2 ability points will be awarded for an innovative clean-up solution
  • 2 ability points will be awarded for any research and solutions that incorporate density into their solutions and show understanding.

Facilitator Notes:

  • Designs for submarines and vehicles are a great activity to do with building toys, repurposed materials, or other modeling tools.
  • Facilitators can help students understand how submarines work and the different pressure situations

Mission 6 Wrap-up

Once learners are ready, have them present their solutions and vessel designs. If there are key pieces missing then ask questions. Discussion is key here – encourage problem-solving even during their presentation. The facilitator and learners may opt for iterations of their solutions.

Once solutions are finalized, award ability points.

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