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What If There Were No Moon?

Florida Tech Sends Educators 13,700 Posters Tackling That Question

MELBOURNE, FLA. — What if there were no moon? This intriguing question lies at the heart of a unique program that brings Florida Institute of Technology’s STEM expertise into thousands of classrooms in Florida and across the country.

This free initiative from Florida Tech, Florida’s STEM University©, is designed to spark the interest of high school students in the critical disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is centered on a colorful, information-packed poster and includes, for the first time, a lesson plan that highlights ways to use math, physics and even a bit of geology to calculate the mass of the moon.

The STEM poster project is sponsored by the Florida Tech’s Office of Enrollment Management, and its scientific content is overseen by Hamid Rassoul, a physicist and dean of the university’s College of Science.

“The STEM poster initiative is another example of how Florida Tech continues to reach out to the K-12 education community to generate excitement among young people interested in scientific and technological careers,” said Daniel Batcheldor, head of the university’s physics and space sciences department in the College of Science, who worked with faculty members Catherine Neish and Darin Ragozzine on the development of the moon poster and lesson plan.

The mathematics-heavy lesson plan was then refined by Master Teachers before being sent to over 13,700 teachers nationwide, including 4,500 in Florida. Florida Tech STEM education majors also tested the lesson plan, which is geared toward  Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and honor students, in real high school classes in Melbourne, the university’s hometown.

The initiative, Batcheldor added, is “designed to help teachers in their daily efforts to engage and excite students about the STEM disciplines.”

Previous topics in Florida Tech’s poster program included The Power Of Math (based upon the science and math behind speedboat design); Gridiron Science (the math and physics of football); Science in Music (STEM career fields used in music); and Career Options in Sustainability.

As to this year’s poster’s question, here are a few answers:

  • Wild weather: Without the moon’s stabilizing affect our planet’s spin rotation, weather patterns would be more erratic.
  • Surf’s…down? The moon is responsible for roughly two-thirds of the tidal effect, so while there would still be waves, they would be much smaller.

For more information on the program or to see the poster, visit www.fit.edu/stem-poster/.

A high-resolution JPG or PDF of the poster is available upon request.

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