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Astronomy  
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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)

This is an activity about the size of the Sun. 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... (View More)

Students are introduced to the periodic table and the concept of atomic elements. The group discusses how all material in the Universe is composed of elements and that the atom is the smallest particle that still has the physical and chemical... (View More)

Students are introduced to the scientific tool of spectroscopy. They each build a simple spectroscope to examine the light from different light sources, particularly the Sun (Warning: Do not look directly at the Sun) and artificial lights (e.g.,... (View More)

Students are introduced to the basic properties, behavior and detection of black holes through a brief discussion of common conceptions and misconceptions of these exciting objects. They "act out" a way black holes might be detected through their... (View More)

In this lesson, students read the original paper written by Henrietta Leavitt in which she compared the apparent brightness and period of Cepheid variable stars. The students prepare graphs from numerical data, just as she did, and compare their... (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 explore the cosmic microwave background to understand why it permeates the universe and why it peaks as microwave radiation. Students should be able to explain that the origin of the background radiation is the uniform... (View More)

This series of curriculum support materials explores how our understanding of the nature of the universe has changed during the past 100 years. Students examine the process of science through the stories of the people and the discoveries that caused... (View More)

Keywords: History of science
Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

In this lesson, students measure the size of several galaxies to reproduce a plot of Hubble's Law. The goal of this lesson is to give students the chance to simulate the process that led to the notion that the universe is expanding, provide insight... (View More)

Keywords: Data graphing