What is Remote Sensing ?
|Related Subject Area:
Are there active lava flows on Kilauea volcano?
Relationship of problem in this lesson to
overall problem: At this point, students have developed a cursory
understanding of what remote sensing is, e.g., the acquisition of
information about an object, without being in physical contact with that
object. However, to investigate where there are active lava flows on
Kilauea, students need to develop a deeper understanding of how remote
sensing works and how it is used to study the earth. The problem in this lesson is to
develop a more precise definition of remote
sensing and determine specifically how remote sensing can help investigate active lava flows on
Required: Two 50 minutes class periods.
- Students will be able to describe the basic
elements and the process of remote
Prerequisite skills or knowledge:
- Ability to work in teams
- Basic understanding of problem
- Basic reading skills
- Basic presentation preparation skills
- Print Student Journal / Worksheet pages
for these activities
- Secure internet computers and projection
- Gather enough red, pink, dark blue,
and light blue pencils, markers, or crayons for students to use during
the mapping activities.
- Bookmark student website on student
computers (if not available, print and copy necessary websites).
Student Reflection and Assessment: Reflection | Assessment
Education Standards supported by this
Science Education Standards | Project
Standards for School Mathematics | National
Technology Standards | National
Extension Ideas to support National Education
Standards for this Lesson:
|FRAME the lesson by having students experience remote sensing while drawing a sensory map of a
prepared surface with different elevations and temperatures.
Teacher preparation immediately
prior to class:
- freeze water in several different
- secure a few heating pads, heating
pillows, or some other devices that will hold heat such as a bags of
vegetables or beans, heat in a microwave or some other means just
prior to the activity.
- place the two or three of each of the
hot and cold items in different locations on a table top space that is
approximately 2 feet by 2 feet.
- place a light cloth over the top of
Note: You may want to setup
several of these areas depending on the size of your class. This activity
should proceed quickly so that the heat and cold zones do not deteriorate
before the students have a chance to 'sense' them.
Separate students into teams of two.
Direct students, without any
explanations, to do the following
- draw a topographical map of what they see on the table top, showing
the differences in elevation evident on the table area.
- this map represents a visible image of the area
Direct one student from each team to take turns waving their
hand closely over the top (not touching) of the area explaining what they
feel (sense: hot and cold) while their teammate draws indications of the
differences in temperature on their visible map.
Participate in the activity
- Students draw the visible map of the prepared table top area.
- Students indicate differences in temperature zones on their maps.
|INFORM students of the relationship between the sensory map
activity and remote sensing instruments. Students will begin to develop an
understanding of remote sensing by relating the sensing map activity
to remote sensing fundamentals -- process and elements.
Ask students to relate the sensing activity they just completed to
the process of remote sensing
- What did you see in the area? (visible images)
- What did the area look like from what you felt? (sensing
- How were you able to draw a map of the differences in temperature?
- What process did you have to go through to develop this sensory map?
Inform students that the activity they just completed is
representative of how remote sensing instruments work. Now, that they have
seen an example of remote sensing they will further explore each of the
elements of remote sensing and how they work together to provide
scientists with the data they need to study the earth. Your goal is to
develop a detailed drawing and description of how remote sensing works.
- A 2 ft. by 2 ft. area with high and low points, the location of the
high and low points.
- Different parts of the area were either hot, warm, cool, or cold, and
the location of temperature boundaries.
- Waving my hand over the area I could feel (prompt for 'sense') changes
in temperature and I gave that information to my teammate who indicated
the changes on the map.
- First we drew a picture of what we saw, then we gathered temperature
information by waving our hands over the area (not touching it), and
transferred that information onto our map.
|EXPLORE the elements of the remote sensing process.
Students will develop a scientific explanation of remote sensing based on
level of understanding will help them learn the correct
terminology for discussing remote sensing.
Direct student to explore the following website and compare the major
elements and process of remote sensing to the sensory activity they just
Direct students to define remote sensing in their own words, complete the
remote sensing (activity 2) worksheet, and draw a picture of the remote sensing
cycle (activity 3).
- Detailed information on the
and elements of remote sensing:
The goal of this activity is to relate the previous sensory activity to
the processes and the elements of remote sensing.
- Break students into several teams
- In teams review the tutorial on website
and further explanation
of remote sensing.
- In teams review the following diagram
of remote sensing and an explanation of
- In teams identify the relationship between the sensory activity and remote sensing tutorials and complete
the activity 2 and 3 worksheets.
|TRY using new knowledge to apply new understanding of remote sensing to the Kilauea volcano mission.
Ask How do you think we can use remote sensing to identify
where active lava flows are on Kilauea?
- prompt for element and process responses, such as to sense the heat
or reflected light from lava using airborne remote sensing
Prompt students to think about what they just learned about
remote sensing and develop a model of how the remote sensing will be used
to identify where the active lava flows are on Kilauea. They should draw
and label of picture of the remote sensing process and respond to the
questions on the student activity
sheet (activity 4).
Discuss student maps and responses to question.
Prompt student to complete their reflection journal for this
Discuss next lesson:
- We just learned the about the basic elements and processes of
remote sensing... but,
Ask students ...
Summarize lesson by stating that these questions are what we will investigate in the next lesson.
- What questions do you still have about remote sensing?
- How does remote sensing give scientists images of things we can't
see, like hot and cold?
Students complete activity 4 in the student journal
Students complete their reflection journal.
- How does remote sensing actually work?
- What needs to be considered when planning a remote sensing
missions, such as day or night data collection, altitude of the
aircraft for collecting data, angles of the instruments to the target,
- Prompt students to relate their understanding of remote
sensing to the volcano mission.
- Prompt students to record the questions they have, the
information they think they know, and ideas for additional investigation
of the problem in their reflective journal.
- Student definition of remote sensing.
- Students identify the key components and processes of remote
- energy source
- interaction with target
- sensor, recording of energy by the sensor
- receiving and processing station
- procession, interpretation, and analysis
- Students demonstrate their understanding of how the basic concepts
of remote sensing relate to the volcano mission.
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Ideas for Math
- Ratios: Students draw maps to scale
of the 2 by 2 surface area.
- Graphing: Students create graphs to
look at relationships between hot and cold zones and high and low
areas on their maps.
- Calculating area: Students calculate
the area of the hot and cold regions on their sensory map.
Related National Education Math Standards
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Ideas for Geography
- Students identify other regions of
the world by examining remote sensing images taken from around the
Related National Education Geography
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Technology lesson enhancements:
- Word processing: Students create their own electronic journal for
recording their notes and ideas during KaAMS activities.
- Graphics software: Students create
their maps using a graphics package. Students create a picture of the
remote sensing process using a graphics package.
- Web development: Students create a
web page indicating the hot and cold zones on their map including
definitions of remote sensing. Students create a web site illustrating
their understanding of the elements of remote sensing and how remote
Related National Education Science
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Remote sensing is the
science (and to some extent, art) of acquiring information about the Earth's
surface without actually being in contact with it. This is done by sensing
and recording reflected or emitted energy and processing, analyzing, and
applying that information
Element in the tabletop mapping
This element in the tabletop area is similar to
what element in the remote sensing website?
This element represents what part of the
remote sensing process?
Part of remote sensing
Hot and cold items under the surface
Temperatures emitted from hot and cold
energy or emitted energy
Hand waving over the surface area
Satellite, Satellite Record
Sensor, Recording of
Energy by the sensor
Students describing what they are feeling
while waving their hands over the surface area
Topographical and sensory map of area
Interpretation and analysis
Sensing Process Cycle:
Applying your understanding of remote sensing to the Kilauea volcano mission*
1. What can be sensed from the Kilauea volcano to
tell where the active lava flows are?
Steam, Lava, Plants, Rocks, Clouds
2. What are the possible energy
sources on a Kilauea volcano mission?
reflected from volcano, Heat emitted from volcano.
3. Where will the remote
sensing instruments be sensing from during the investigation of
4. What might the final data
images of Kilauea volcano showing the volcano features and locations
of heat, steam, lava, plants, rocks, etc. in different colors. The images
will show characteristics that we may not be able to see with our eyes.
The student picture should have an indication of
an aircraft over the Kilauea volcano, energy sources including the sun and
lava, transmission of sensory information from the volcano surface to the
aircraft (remote sensing instrumentation), data analysis stations, and some
indication of the data in a final form.
teacher: The above answers are a few of the possible student responses. It is recommended that you
review the the
following websites: http://www.pgd.hawaii.edu/~scott/rsens1.htm
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rev. 26 MAR 01