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National Science Education Standards:
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SMD Forum - Primary:
Astrophysics  
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Dieter Hartmann, a high-energy physicist, presents a story-based lesson on the science of Gamma-Ray astronomy. The lesson focuses on gamma-ray bursts; examining their sources, types, and links to the origin and evolution of the Universe. The... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

NASA scientist, Neil Gehrels, serves as your guide to this online lesson on gamma ray tools, which focuses on advances in detector technologies since the 1980s that have enabled us to capture and image high-energy phenomena. Dr. Gehrels explains... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

The H-R diagram is a scatter graph of stars, a plot of stellar absolute magnitude or luminosity versus temperature or stellar classification. It is an important astronomical tool for understanding how stars evolve over time. Stellar evolution cannot... (View More)

Keywords: Stellar evolution
Audience: High school, Higher education
Materials Cost: Free

In this lesson, students consider observations and inferences to determine the support for each of two theories on the origin of the universe: Steady State and Big Bang. Working with partners, students draw from a set of Evidence cards (master... (View More)

The goal of this lesson is for two groups of students to exchange information (e.g., through poster presentations, Podcasts, debates, or PowerPoint presentations) about how two different theories explain a natural phenomenon: Newton's Law of... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

In this lesson, students explore a discrepant event when they design an experiment to measure the rate that ice melts when in pure water versus salt water. It is designed to help students realize that a carefully-designed experiment may yield... (View More)

In this investigation, students use "point-source" light, light meters, and graphing software to quantify the reduction in light over distance. Through careful measurement of light received at several distances, students discover the best fit of the... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Over $20 per group of students

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)

In this lesson, students explore the cosmic microwave background to understand why a completely smooth (isotropic) background poses problems for the Universe we see today. Students will participate in an engagement activity which demonstrates how... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: $1 - $5 per group of students
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