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Light and optics  
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This is an activity involving scientific inquiry. Using a constructed Mystery Light Box, learners will observe what is in the box without removing the object from the box, shining a light into the box, or reaching hands into the box, and they will... (View More)

In this activity, students construct an analytical spectroscope and analyze the spectrum produced when various substances are heated or excited with electricity. This activity is part of Unit 2 in the Space Based Astronomy guide that contains... (View More)

This is a series of three activities about light and spectra. First, learners will construct their own spectroscope, observe common light sources, record the observed spectra, and compare their findings. Next, learners will use their spectroscopes... (View More)

This activity is about the use of spectral data to identify mineral composition on Mars. Working in teams, students will compare and contrast spectra to identify similarities between Earth minerals and those from Mars. A short list of suggested... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school, Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is an activity about wavelength and frequency. Using a 30 to 50 foot rope and two volunteers, learners will observe as one end of the rope is shaken and wavelength patterns are created. They will estimate the wavelength, the distance between... (View More)

Using a paper and tape device, students experience how atoms and molecules of gas in Earth’s atmosphere absorb electromagnetic energy through resonance. This activity is part of Unit 2 in the Space Based Astronomy guide that contains background... (View More)

This is an activity about light and its component colors. Learners will observe a photograph of a rainbow and make observations about what they see in the photo. Next, they will observe a rainbow spectrum and draw the rainbow using crayons. Finally,... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school

This is a short activity about our Sun. Learners will read a page of information about our Sun and the electromagnetic spectrum and answer questions in an accompanying worksheet. This activity is from the Stanford Solar Center's All About the Sun:... (View More)

Students determine the ability of various lenses and mirrors to gather light in order to compare and calculate their light gathering power. This activity is part of Unit 3 in the Space Based Astronomy guide that contains background information,... (View More)

In this activity, a Whiffle® ball containing a battery-operated buzzer is twirled in a circle to demonstrate the Doppler effect.  The demonstration is an illustration of how stellar spectra can be used to measure a star's motion relative to Earth... (View More)