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Instructional Strategies:
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SMD Forum - Primary:
Astrophysics  
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Students will use the law of reflection to reflect a laser beam off multiple mirrors to hit a sticker in a shoebox. Since X-ray telescopes must use grazing angles to collect X-rays, students will design layouts with the largest possible angles of... (View More)

NuSTAR has a 10-meter rigid mast that separates the optics from the detector. Inspired by this, students will design, test, and build a lightweight mast 1 meter tall that can fully support the weight of a typical hardcover textbook (~2 kg). The... (View More)

These guides showcase education and public outreach resources from across more than 20 NASA astrophysics missions and programs. The twelve guides - one for each month - contain a science topic, an interpretive story, a sky object to view with... (View More)

Audience: Informal education
Materials Cost: 1 cent - $1 per student

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. They are then introduced to the life cycle of a star and how a star's mass affects its process of fusion and... (View More)

This lesson provides a way for students to determine the relationship between the distance from a light source and its brightness. Once students discover the relationship, they can begin to understand how astronomers use this knowledge to determine... (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 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)

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