Solar Storms and You!
Activity 17 : Cosmic Radiation Creates Unfriendly Skies
On the Earth's surface, we are protected from the harmful effects of cosmic
rays by the atmosphere. During a trip in a jet plane at altitudes of 30,000
feet, cosmic rays and other energetic particles pose a greater problem
and can lead to significant health risks, especially for airline pilots.
The students will read to be informed, and write a letter to persuade based
on the article that was read.
"Cosmic radiation creates unfriendly skies"
Student question sheet
Students read the article "Cosmic Radiation Creates Unfriendly Skies".
Allow sufficient time for the students to complete questions #1 through
Discuss the student responses to questions #1 through #10.
Allow students a sufficient amount of time to prewrite the letter.
Group the students in pairs. Assign one member of the pair to be "A" and
the other member to be "B". Student "A" reads the letter to student "B"
and receives suggestions. Allow five minutes for the peer review. Then
student "B" reads the letter to student "A" and receives suggestions. Allow
five minutes for the peer review.
Separate the students for individual work.
Students complete the final copy of the letter.
Scoring Rule: Writing to persuade
2=Consistently addresses audience's needs by identifying a clear position
and fully supporting or refuting that position with relevant information.
Text is uniformly organized, and language choices often enhance the text.
1=Sometimes addresses the audience's needs by identifying a somewhat
clear position and partially supporting or refuting that position with
relevant information. Text is generally organized, and language choices
sometimes enhance the text.
0=Rarely or never addresses audience's needs by failing to identify
a clear position or failing to adequately support or refute a position
that is identified. Text lacks organization and language choices seldom,
if ever, enhance the text.
Solar storms and cosmic radiation are more of a hazard that most people
appreciate. Even common activities such as flying in a jet plane can have a
Related Web Resources
Visit the IMAGE/POETRY
Storms:Hidden Menace article written by Dr. Odenwald to learn more about
how solar storms affect our technology.
Return to the Table of Contents
This activity was developed by the NASA, IMAGE/POETRY
Teacher and Student Consortium.
For more information, and a list of other resources, visit