Satellite Data Analysis with CODAP #4511


This is a discussion for the Satellite Data Analysis with CODAP Experiment. Feel free to connect with the Learning Team here, or to discuss experiment tips, ask questions, leave comments or suggest experiment variations here.

  1. Please identify which of the columns are readings from the Ardusat sensor.
  2. What is rd3024_counts?



Hello Fredric,

  1. Below are all the sensors in the education payload on the satellite. Other columns that you see are weather and orbital data that are calculated based on time and orbit.
    Sensors Description
    TSL2561 Luminosity 1
    TSL2591 Luminosity 2
    TCS34725 Red, Green and Blue Color Light Sensor
    ML8511 Ultraviolet
    ISL29125 Red, Green and Blue Color Light Sensor
    SI1132 Ultraviolet index, visable, IR
    MLX90614 Infrared thermometer for non-contact temperature
    L3GD20 Gyroscope 3-Axis 1
    ITG3200 Gyroscope 3-Axis 2
    LSM303_MAGNET Magnetometer 3-Axis 1
    MAG3110 Magnetometer 3-Axis 2
    LSM303_ACCEL Accelerometer 3-Axis 1
    ADXL345 Accelerometer 3-Axis 2
    OBC_TMP102 Temperature 1
    OBC_TMP102_2 Temperature 2
    LEMSENS_TMP102 Temperature 3
    LEMSENS_TMP102_2 Temperature 4
    MLX90621 Infrared thermometer 16x4 arrary
    RD3024 Particle counter: beta, gamma and X-rays

  2. RD3024_counts are counts of high energy particles detected by the sensor RD3024:

Great questions! Thanks for asking


Oops, I combined my response to this activity with my response to the magnets activity.

I definitely think I could incorporate this into my classroom lessons. We have a unit on weather and climate, so satellite data is very relevant. We also look at space trash as part of our Earth/Environmental Science unit, and a lot of that is the result of broken or abandoned satellites and/or a threat to the function of other satellites, so there is another connection.

I love the different ways to look at data with CODAP, and that application could fit in to many of our STEM units and our statistics project when we need to look at data in different forms from a variety of sources. I really need to look at how to set this up for my own content.

Students would need support on reading the data and understanding what was shown (that was A LOT of data!) and also a quick review on graphing and some practice manipulating data in the program.

I would demonstrate a lot of this first and follow an I do / you do / we do instructional model just to get students comfortable with it and be able to interpret the data on their own.


We have had a lot of interest in our Ardusat Space Experiments and High Altitude Balloon launches lately. We recently helped 8 teachers collect space data for analysis in their classrooms via a partnership with ASE! You can see what each class planned here: (The “currently and previously run space experiments” contains the specifics about the data collected from a cubesat for each classroom).

We also recently helped Santa Rosa School District in Florida with a High Altitude Balloon launch–you can see prerecorded live video of the HAB payload recovery (which involved a police officer, ha!) if you go to SRCSD Math & Science on Facebook!


I have used sattelite data in my class before and at first look the students get overwhelmed. I like using lessons like this one in my clssroom so students can see what real data looks like and learn that they can use this mess of numbers and interpret it into useful data. It builds confidence within the students that they have acheived results using real data.

I would do this with the students step by step. I wuld also scale down the data giving the students a spreadsheet for the variables we are using. this data is perfect for my Eath Science classroom. Having don this before the main challange is going slowly through the activity. I would have the students work in groups pairing a student who is strong in graphing and math with another student.


I agree with you- the amount of data is so overwhelming. I like the idea of scaling it down and proceeding slowly.


@ArdusatExplorer-2300 @ArdusatExplorer-2429

Perhaps breaking this lesson into 3 parts with smaller data chunks would be helpful? Something that builds on the previous data dive?


@ArdusatExplorer-2300 @ArdusatExplorer-2429

We have another experiment that is called The Great American Eclipse. It involves using Luminosity, Temperature, and UV data collected during the August 2018 Eclipse. This would be a much smaller data set for a beginning lesson in data analysis. Check it out here if you have a chance, I found the data to be fascinating!


This data set and the graphing/mapping tools will be excellent when teaching about satellite motions and the information they obtain, how long it takes to get across a continent, what the sensors tell us about temperature, IR and UV radiation etc. I cannot wait to implement this next fall.


I like the opportunity this experiments provides for students to explore the cause and effect relationships between different data types. It also helps to develop graphing and analytical skills, as well a pattern recognition.

I do feel that most of my students would find the massive amount of data to be overwhelming.My students could independently do Part A: satellite location data. However, the immense amount of data would be overwhelming for almost all of my students (at least at this time). I would modify the table to provide only one column for each of the following (time, latitude, longitude, velocity, altitude, luminosity, and IR) to start with.

I would follow-up this activity with a discussion about satellite motion. The activity provides a better foundation for students to relate to such a discussion.


I think that an additional line could be added to the spreadsheet that identifies the columns in lay-terms to supplement the sensor identification. This would make it easier for students to know exactly what data set they are using. I was certain about the data sets until the posting from KCocco.


I like being able to map the data, but I too was overwhelmed by the data and the code names for the data. Are we able to create our own .csv file with only the information we are interested in?


I love this idea too! Yes, I believe you can download the .csv file and then you can change it how you’d like. Then you’d have to share that file with your students and go to CODAP and drop the new file in the app. Let us know how it works out?


Although the graph did not display any points when I did the experiment for some reason, and I tried it a couple of times, I watched the video and I saw how it was supposed to look. From my observation it looks like there are several applications for math. I would need to keep the experiment more basic for me students as they would get overwhelmed by the amount of information in the chart, but they would be able to represent data with plots on a real number line, use the scatter plot on the chart to describe how variables are related, and determine if there is a linear line of best fit.

There is a tremendous amount of information in the spreadsheet and even I found it a little overwhelming. I think it would have to be simplified for my students. I would probably have to be more of a guide on this experiment than on others because of the complexity of the graph unless I can find a way to simplify it in a way that works for my class. It is something I need to spend more time looking at. I think if my students were able to accomplish my objective while being engaged and having fun it would be a successful lesson.


I like your approach. There is so much data involved that I felt overwhelmed. But if you take it in smaller doses, one step at a time, maybe one set of variables at a time, it would not be so much information at one time. It is interesting to see how it all comes together and how it can be used, but all at once is daunting.


I like the idea of giving students real data to analyze, however seeing as how I teach K-5, I do think this amount of data would be a bit overwhelming for my students. If I could scale it down or simplify it, I can see introducing this to my students as a way to show them how data is collected and used. I can see using it to tie into units on weather patterns and climate.


Hi everyone,

Sorry for the late post this week. I have had Texas State testing, AP testing, and IB testing these past few weeks and I teach 5 preps… I am just now emerging back from “drowning” in tutorials, reviews, practices, etc.

  1. Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum?

I don’t think it can get any better than this when it comes to data analysis opportunity for STEM students. In AP/IB Environmental Science classes, this exercise can be used virtually in every single unit. For Math applications, this simulation can be used to help students learn how to manipulate data to determine mathematical models explaining global trends (e.g. temperatures, precipitations, etc).

  1. Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support to be successful?

The analysis of the data. There is so much information that I can anticipate many students be easily overwhelmed with. Going through each sensor and re-naming the sensors with the actual name instead of a code is a great idea, because it gives the students a good reference as to what the numbers represent.

  1. If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your role during the class. What does a successful teacher actively do during this lesson?

First, I would have to guide the class through a breakdown of each sensor and help them see how the numerical data transfer on to a corresponding graph. Secondly, I think I would try to have the students write a simple research question that can be answered with the analysis of the data collected and support their findings with mathematical evidence (e.g. regression models).

  1. If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your student’s role during the class. What does “student success” look like?

Students would be the “scientists” in this activity and they would be successful when they can produce a compelling argument backed up by the data analysis conducted.



Hi Adeena,

I agree with you that students can get overwhelmed at first with the huge amount of data. I think a step-by-step approach helps them gain the confidence they need to manipulate the data effectively. In addition, this activity can truly give them a sense of what a real-life data collection and analysis looks like when scientists study natural phenomena.



I like your idea of renaming the sensors with the actual name. I teach middle school, and this would be necessary. It would be good also, to be able to limit how much data the students see, or to be able to highlight which sensor information we would use.