Mystery Message from Space

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Science, Earth and Space Science

Grade 5- 8

Objective

Students will apply what they have learned about our solar system, the components and distances of the universe, and communicating with intelligent life forms as they decipher a coded message sent from another planetary system.

Directions

Background
The likelihood of our receiving a message from another planetary system is extremely remote due to the great distances in space. The message will take thousands of years to reach our planet. Any life forms intelligent enough to send such a message will realize that those who might receive it will not be familiar with their language but may be able to interpret pictures and numbers.
Preparation
Make transparencies of the Mystery Message from Space.
Procedure
Divide the students into scientific teams and give each team a copy of the Mystery Message from Space.
For Discussion
Let each scientific team discuss the message and decipher it to the best of their abilities with a minimum of teacher assistance.
Let students use the transparency to share some of the insights after they have worked for awhile as individual teams and then let them continue deciphering the message.
Let each team share their interpretation of the message with the entire class.
Follow Up
Share the possible solution provided in the Answer Key.

Resources

copies of the Mystery Message from Space (see the link for the activity pages below) for student teams

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