LEARNING TASK EPISODE
Inner Versus Outer Space
PROGRAMME DESCRIPTION FOR TEACHERS
Even after 50 years of exploring the ocean's depths, Titanic's discoverer, Bob Ballard, is still fascinated by the deep. In the face of world crises–overpopulation, soaring oil prices, climate change and rising sea levels–some believe we have to look to outer space to build our future. In fact, celebrated NASA astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, thinks commitment to permanence on another planet will be biggest achievement in human history. His vision for the future is to see humans relocate to Mars. But for Ballard, it's our oceans that hold the key to humanity's survival. Each man is fully committed to his own point of view, and they couldn't be further apart. The stark contrast of their opposing beliefs, brought to life with cutting edge tools and amazing new camera technologies, provides a showcase of futuristic, thought-provoking scenarios.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR TEACHERS
Dr Robert Ballard is the greatest underwater explorer of his generation. But he believes the challenges of shining a light into the abyss has only just begun. Covering some 70% of our planet, we have to date explored a mere 5% of our oceans. In that small area Ballard has found the Titanic, the Bismarck , the carrier Yorktown and forms of life that are new to science. Just imagine what awaits us in the remaining 95%! Alien Deep is Dr. Robert Ballard's voyage of discovery, his inspired, sometimes opinionated, vision of our ocean planet – past, present and future!
According to Bob, we humans need to move out on to the surface of the sea. With the polar ice caps melting, and sea levels rising, each year sees our planet covered in more water and less land. He illustrates his vision for the future by visiting a fascinating community in Vietnam whose people have never stood on land; a deep ocean aquaculture project off the coast of Hawaii; and a Texan company developing an abandoned oil rig into a city at sea.
Conversely, Buzz Aldrin thinks humans should ensure their survival by establishing a foothold on another location–Mars–in two to three decades. Buzz and Neil Armstrong were the first men to set foot on the moon, and Buzz's life has revolved around space exploration. Nevertheless, it's a daunting goal to build even a primitive settlement on Mars. So far our sole achievement is a handful of unmanned rovers covered in space dust. It could cost as much as $450 billion to put the first humans on Mars, bearing in mind we must carry everything we need: food, shelter, building, farming, mining supplies. Either way, it's time to plan a move to the next frontier, be it in the oceans, on earth, or in space. Perched on the precipice of a wondrous new age of exploration, time will tell whose vision is right.
Junior Secondary Curriculum
Science provides an empirical way of answering interesting questions about the biological, physical and technological world. The knowledge it produces has proved to be a reliable basis for action in our personal, social and economic lives. Science is a dynamic, collaborative and creative human endeavour arising from our curiosity and interest in making sense of our world through exploring the unknown, investigating universal mysteries, making predictions and solving problems.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Rationale
In undertaking these tasks, students of Science will develop:
• An interest in science and a curiosity and willingness to explore, ask questions and speculate about the changing world in which they live
• An ability to investigate questions about the world using scientific inquiry methods, including questioning, planning and conducting experiments and investigations based on ethical principles, collecting and analyzing data, evaluating results, and drawing critical, evidence-based conclusions
• An ability to communicate their scientific understandings and findings to a range of audiences, to justify their own ideas on the basis of evidence, and to evaluate and debate scientific arguments and claims whilst respecting alternative viewpoints and beliefs
• An ability to solve problems and make informed, evidence-based decisions about current and future applications of science while taking into account moral, ethical and social implications
• An understanding of historical and cultural aspects of science, contemporary science issues and activities and an understanding of the diversity of careers related to science.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Aims