Universe of Learning Science Briefing: September 2017

Created by Brandon Lawton Last updated 9/4/2017

The resources in this list pertain to the presentation given on September 7, 2017, titled, "Beyond the Solar System: Cosmic Disks".
NASA's Universe of Learning is a program which will integrate NASA's Astrophysics Science Mission Directorate programs, and will advance STEM learning and literacy by creating and delivering a unified suite of education products, programs, and professional development that spans the full spectrum of NASA Astrophysics.
NASA's Universe of Learning is partnering with the Museum Alliance to provide professional development briefings for the informal science education community. These briefings provide current NASA Astrophysics themes, content, and resources to the informal community. These curated lists present the resources described during the briefings. To find the briefings, you can go here:

  • NASA News: Super-Saturn

    Astronomers find a massive ring system around an exoplanet.
  • NASA News: Giant Ring Discovered Around Saturn

    Just when you thought every big thing in the Solar System had already been discovered, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has found an extraordinary new ring around Saturn.
  • NASA Images - Protoplanetary Disks

    Shown here are an assortment of protoplanetary disks in the Orion Nebula observed by the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Citizen Science: Disk Detective

    We need your help to discover the birthplace of planets in never-before seen data! Computers often confuse debris disks around stars with other astronomical objects. We need your help to sort out what stars actually have these disks.
  • Building Perspectives with Active Galaxies

    In this activity, students build a model of an active galaxy. From this, they will learn about the geometry of the components of an active galaxy and develop an understanding that different viewing angles can lead to dramatically different interpretations of a galaxy's appearance. The activity includes background information, glossary, essential questions, extension activities, transfer activities, adaptations for visually-impaired students, and an answer key. Additional materials needed to do this activity include a compass. This is activity one of three in the Active Galaxies education unit.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 1B/H3, 11B/H3
  • Zooming In on Active Galaxies

    This activity focuses on the question, What do active galaxies look like when viewed from different distances? Students work in small groups to learn about the small angle formula, construct a template, and use it to correctly measure the angular size of a person. Students then use the Active Galaxies Poster to measure the angular size of a galaxy. Materials are commonly available or inexpensive items, e.g., scissors, cardboard, construction paper, calculator, protractor, meter stick or measuring tape). Includes background information, glossary, essential questions, extension activities, transfer activities, adaptations for visually-impaired students, and an answer key. This is activity 2 of 3 in the Active Galaxies Educators Guide.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 2C/H3, 9B/H3
  • Light Travel Time and the Size of Active Galaxies

    Using real data from NASA's Fermi satellite, students determine the size and energy of an active galaxy flare region. This activity includes background information for teachers, student worksheets, procedures, adaptations, extensions, an assessment rubric, and related resources. This is activity 3 of 3 in the "Active Galaxies Educator's Guide."
    AAAS Benchmarks: 2C/H3
  • Graphic Organizer: Galaxy types compared

    Graphic Organizer: Comparison of spiral, elliptical, and irregular galaxies shows the similarities and differences between the three classes of galaxies: spiral, elliptical, and irregular. The information is presented in the form of a t-chart.