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This lesson uses a simple discrepant event to demonstrate the underlying cause for early miscalculation of the size of the Milky Way galaxy. By standardizing the Cepheid period-luminosity relationship without recognizing there were two types of... (View More) Cepheid variable stars with intrinsic differences in absolute magnitude, a distance calculation error occurred. Requires two lamps and two soft-white light bulbs: 25 watt and 60 watt (estimated materials cost is for light bulbs). This lesson is part of the Cosmic Times teachers guide and is intended to be used in conjunction with the 1955 Cosmic Times Poster. (View Less)

In this activity, students survey other people to find out their thoughts about life beyond Earth and compare their ideas with visitors to the Cosmic Questions exhibit. Students can also analyze their survey data to see whether there is any... (View More) variation or patterns in answers from men and women or people of different ages. To do this, students will need to design their own method for tracking demographic data. This activity is part of the "Cosmic Questions Educator's Guide" that was developed to support the Cosmic Questions exhibit. Activities in the guide can be used in conjunction with or independently of the exhibit. (View Less)

In these activities, students investigate how gamma ray bursts emit energy in beams (as opposed to emitting light in all directions) and investigate the implications of this on the total number of gamma ray bursts seen in the universe. This activity... (View More) uses Gamma-ray Bursts as an engagement tool to teach selected topics in physical science and mathematics. In addition, the guide features background information, assessment information, student worksheets, extension and transfer activities, and detailed information about the physical science and mathematics content standards for grades 9-12. This is Activity 4 of 4 in the guide which accompanies the educational wall sheet, titled Angling for Gamma-ray Bursts. (View Less)

In this activity, students construct base-two slide rules that add and subtract base-2 exponents (log distances), in order to multiply and divide corresponding powers of two. Students use these slide rules to generate both log and antilog equations,... (View More) learning to translate one in terms of the other. This is activity C1 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure,compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)

In this activity students use log tapes and base-two slide rules as references to graph exponential functions and log functions in base-10 and base-2. Students discover that exponential and log functions are inverse, reflecting across the y = x axis... (View More) as mirror images. This is activity E2 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure, compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, the GLAST mission was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)

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... (View More) 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. (View Less)

In this activity students construct Log Rulers, finely calibrated in base-10 exponents and numbers (logs and antilogs). They practice reading these scales as accurately as possible, listing all certain figures plus one uncertain figure. This is... (View More) activity D1 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure,compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)

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... (View More) 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. (View Less)

In this activity, students graph second and third order functions, discovering an inverse relationship between squares and square roots and between cubes and cube roots. Students graph these functions on both linear grid (evenly spaced numbers), and... (View More) a log-log grid (evenly space exponents). Graph lines that curve on linear grids transform into straight lines on the log-log grids, with slopes equal to their exponential powers. This activity is activity E3 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure, compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)