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Educational Level:
Middle school  
Instructional Strategies:
Hands-on learning  
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Learners will use a spectrograph to gather data about light sources. Using the data they’ve collected, students are able to make comparisons between different light sources and make conjectures about the composition of a mystery light source. The... (View More)

Learners will look at various light sources (including glow sticks and Christmas lights) and make conjectures about their composition. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering program for middle-high school students,... (View More)

This is a lesson about the electromagnetic spectrum. Learners begin by arranging a set of picture cards; in the discussion afterwards, this activity is related to the electromagnetic spectrum as an arrangement of energy waves. Next, using a... (View More)

In this hands-on activity, learners begin by estimating the size of each planet in our Solar System and Pluto and making each out of playdough or a similar material. Then, learners follow specific instructions to divide a mass of playdough into the... (View More)

Learners will construct a pinhole camera and, using the projected image of the Sun, calculate its diameter. After calculating the diameter of the Sun, learners will create a classroom sized scale model of the Sun and Earth. This activity requires... (View More)

In this lesson, students will be introduced to how the Doppler effect changes our perception of wavelengths of sound (pitch) and light (color). Students will model how astronomers use the line spectra of stars to identify elements in the stars and... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Over $20 per group of students

In this lesson, students will investigate the Doppler Effect and discover how the same principle can be used to identify a possible tornado in storm clouds and investigate the rotation of distant galaxies. Students should be familiar with the... (View More)

In this lesson, students examine the idea of inflation in the Universe using rising raisin bread dough as a model for universal expansion. Students will read the Cosmic Times 1993 edition and use two articles: Pancake or Oatmeal Universe - What's... (View More)

This is a unit in 7-8 sessions about objects outside of our solar system, including galaxies and the universe. Learners will investigate the contents of the universe, why light years are used to measure distances in space, the lifespan of a star,... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

In this activity students are challenged to create a model of the universe in a single class period. This activity is designed to elicit student ideas and preconceptions about the contents and organization of the cosmos. Most students will be... (View More)