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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

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)

In this lesson, students read the original paper written by Henrietta Leavitt in which she compared the apparent brightness and period of Cepheid variable stars. The students prepare graphs from numerical data, just as she did, and compare 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)

This series of curriculum support materials explores how our understanding of the nature of the universe has changed during the past 100 years. Students examine the process of science through the stories of the people and the discoveries that caused... (View More)

Keywords: History of science
Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

In this lesson, students measure the size of several galaxies to reproduce a plot of Hubble's Law. The goal of this lesson is to give students the chance to simulate the process that led to the notion that the universe is expanding, provide insight... (View More)

Keywords: Data graphing

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)

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