From the Big Bang to star death (MS and HS) (ESS1)

Created by Last updated 7/31/2018

The resources in this list support student understanding of the characteristics, processes, and life cycles of stars. Resources on the electromagnetic spectrum are included.

The Big Bang and the life cycle of stars are included under NGSS ESS1.A (Earth’s Place in the Universe / The Universe and Its Stars).
• Introduction to Cosmology

Begin by introducing your students to the Big Bang theory – the scientific theory of the origin of the universe - through reading explanations and examples in five related areas.
AAAS Benchmarks: 4A/H2ab
• NASA eClips™ Launchpad: The Life Cycle of a Star

Use this short video segment on star life cycles to engage students as you begin studying the Universe and its Stars.
AAAS Benchmarks: , 4A/H6, 4A/H1a
• Kinesthetic Big Bang

Take your high school students outside the classroom to participate in an activity showing the time after the Big Bang when the first nuclei of hydrogen and helium were created.
AAAS Benchmarks: 4A/H2ab
• Tour of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Identifying a star’s composition, movement and distance from Earth requires an understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum. This booklet uses text and images to introduce and explain each region of the spectrum.
AAAS Benchmarks: 3A/M2, 4E/M6, 4F/H3c, 4F/M5, 4F/M7, 4F/M8
• How Astronomers Use Spectra to Learn About the Sun and Other Stars

This article includes information about the electromagnetic spectrum, how atomic physics is used to obtain information from stellar spectra, and how the Doppler effect is used to measure stellar motions. After reading, students analyze scientific data displayed as graphs and identify several emission lines in the spectrum of the Sun.
AAAS Benchmarks: 4F/M8, 12D/M2, 4E/H5
• Evidence for the Expanding Universe

Investigate emission spectra of stars to determine if a galaxy is moving toward or away from the Milky Way - and at what speed.
AAAS Benchmarks: 4F/H5c, 4F/H5ab
• Exploring Stars in the Milky Way

Designed for middle school students, this book introduces students to basic counting, tallying, and grouping techniques of stars.
AAAS Benchmarks: 2B/M1, 2C/M2b
• Proportional Relationships

Focus on the mathematical study of stars through this multi-media module that integrates NASA press releases, NASA archival video, and math problems. Students use simple proportions and fractions to explore the number of stars in the Milky Way, and the relative sizes of some famous stars compared to our own sun.
AAAS Benchmarks: 9D/M2
• Plotting Pulsating Variable Stars on the Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) Diagram

By plotting stars on a Hertsprung-Russell diagram, students uncover stellar classifications for several variables, and identify the type of variability
• Dying Stars and the Birth of the Elements (CLEA lab)

(Designed for students in grades 11 and 12.) After using a simulator of an orbiting X-ray observatory to observe a supernova remnant, students take X-ray spectral data, analyze them, and answer questions based on that data.
AAAS Benchmarks: 4A/H2ef
• Star Market Scandal

In this engaging game students investigate stars as a commodity being bought up by companies. Discover facts about stars by determining patterns of the types of stars being bought and why companies are buying them.
AAAS Benchmarks: 4A/H1a, 1B/M1b
• Space Mysteries: Solar Supernova

After gathering information on stars in this computer-based activity, students determine the eventual fate of our sun.
AAAS Benchmarks: 4A/H2ef