Discussion Questions & Activities for the Science Fiction Story JOSHUA 10

John Elgan
Grade Levels
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PDF (702 KB|8 pages)
John Elgan


Joshua 10 includes compelling scientific phenomena that can be used to engage students in learning science and engineering. The activities and questions provided here were prepared by the author with contributions from teaching colleagues and readers. Questions and activities are listed loosely in the sequence of the story and reference performance expectations in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The topics range across an integrated science curriculum from which discipline-specific questions can be selected. 

You will find many other authentic scientific phenomena throughout the story, though some are beyond the scope of secondary school curricula.

Have fun!

Total Pages
8 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that feedback mechanisms maintain homeostasis. Examples of investigations could include heart rate response to exercise, stomate response to moisture and temperature, and root development in response to water levels. Assessment does not include the cellular processes involved in the feedback mechanism.
Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for how carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from sugar molecules may combine with other elements to form amino acids and/or other large carbon-based molecules. Emphasis is on using evidence from models and simulations to support explanations. Assessment does not include the details of the specific chemical reactions or identification of macromolecules.
Construct an explanation of the Big Bang theory based on astronomical evidence of light spectra, motion of distant galaxies, and composition of matter in the universe. Emphasis is on the astronomical evidence of the red shift of light from galaxies as an indication that the universe is currently expanding, the cosmic microwave background as the remnant radiation from the Big Bang, and the observed composition of ordinary matter of the universe, primarily found in stars and interstellar gases (from the spectra of electromagnetic radiation from stars), which matches that predicted by the Big Bang theory (3/4 hydrogen and 1/4 helium).
Create a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when the change in energy of the other component(s) and energy flows in and out of the system are known. Emphasis is on explaining the meaning of mathematical expressions used in the model. Assessment is limited to basic algebraic expressions or computations; to systems of two or three components; and to thermal energy, kinetic energy, and/or the energies in gravitational, magnetic, or electric fields.


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