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Instructional Strategies:
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SMD Forum - Primary:
Astrophysics  
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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)

In this activity, students are reminded that the Universe is made up of elements and that the heavier elements are created inside of a star, as they learned in the "Elements and You" activity. They are introduced to the life cycle of a star and to... (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)

The purpose of this lesson is to model for students gravitational waves and how they are created. Students will build a simple "Gravitational Wave Demonstrator" using inexpensive materials (plastic wrap, plastic cups, water, food coloring, and... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: $1 - $5

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 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)

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)

In this lesson, students explore a discrepent event by designing experiments to test either what makes a "come-back can" return (a can that when you roll away from you, always returns) or UV beads change color. This activity should come either near... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: $5 - $10 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)