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The K-12 Educator’s Guide includes supplemental information and activities to help extend the learning experience associated with watching Space Junk. The film tells the story of a growing ring of orbiting debris located 22,000 miles above Earth―that casts a shadow over the future of space exploration. The Educator’s Guide presents a historical timeline of satellite launches and the background science of orbital mechanics to help learners understand the physics of space junk.

Space Junk also challenges students to imagine solutions to the problems we now face in space. While the film’s message is a cautionary tale, it also seeks to inspire a new age of innovation. Today’s K-12 students are tomorrow’s scientists and engineers who will forge the future of space exploration and discovery. The Guide also includes hands-on activities―including the one presented here―and a complete presentation of how the fi lm can be used to support classroom learning in context with the National Science Education Standards.

Learning Goals for K-12 Students:

  • The basic physical principles of orbital mechanics have enabled a half-century of rapid innovation in satellite technology, impacting our daily lives.
  • Actions have consequences. The benefits of satellite technology have been great, but the orbital debris field has grown to become a new and pressing challenge.
  • Scientists and engineers work steadily to improve society by imagining and testing new technologies.

An Educational Product of The Franlkin Institute