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Middle school  
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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 activity, students examine the first line of evidence, galactic motion, for the notion of an expanding universe. By examining the spectrum of light from a galaxy, students can determine whether a galaxy is moving toward or away from us, and... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

Learners will use a spectrograph to gather data about light sources. Using the data they’ve collected, students are able to make comparisons between different light sources and make conjectures about the composition of a mystery light source. The... (View More)

Learners will build an open spectrograph to calculate the angle the light is transmitted through a holographic diffraction grating. After finding the desired angles, the students will design their own spectrograph using the information learned. The... (View More)

Learners will look at various light sources (including glow sticks and Christmas lights) and make conjectures about their composition. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering program for middle-high school students,... (View More)

Learners will explore different ways of displaying visual spectra, including colored "barcode" spectra, like those produced by a diffraction grating, and line plots displaying intensity versus color, or wavelength. Students learn that a diffraction... (View More)

This is a lesson about detecting atmospheres of planets. Learners will explore stellar occultation events (by interpreting light curves) to determine if an imaginary dwarf planet "Snorkzat" has an atmosphere. The activity is part of Project Spectra,... (View More)

This is an activity about detecting elements by using light. Learners will develop and apply methods to identify and interpret patterns to the identification of fingerprints. They look at fingerprints of their classmates, snowflakes, and finally... (View More)

In this activity, students are introduced to light and colored gels (filters). Students make and test predictions about light and color using gels; learn about the importance of gels (filters) to astronomers; then analyze images taken with regular... (View More)

Learners will compare known elemental spectra with spectra of Titan and Saturn’s rings from a spectrometer aboard the NASA Cassini spacecraft. They identify the elements visible in the planetary and lunar spectra. The activity is part of Project... (View More)

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