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Students will learn about black holes through reading a NASA press release and viewing a NASA eClips™ video segment. Then students will use tables and mathematical expressions to compare black hole sizes and temperatures. Common Core State... (View More) Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts are identified. This activity is part of the Space Math multi-media modules that integrate NASA press releases, NASA archival video, and mathematics problems targeted at specific math standards commonly encountered in middle school textbooks. The modules cover specific math topics at multiple levels of difficulty with real-world data and use the 5E instructional sequence. (View Less)

Students will learn about NASA's Fermi satellite and gamma ray sources through reading a NASA press release. They will also learn about gamma rays and the electromagnetic spectrum by viewing a NASA eClips™ video segment. Then, students will use... (View More) percentages to explore the origins of mysterious gamma ray sources in the sky using NASA Fermi data. Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Art are identified. This activity is part of the Space Math multi-media modules that integrate NASA press releases, NASA archival video, and mathematics problems targeted at specific math standards commonly encountered in middle school textbooks. The modules cover specific math topics at multiple levels of difficulty with real-world data and use the 5E instructional sequence. (View Less)

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) the distances to stars and far away galaxies. (View Less)

Materials Cost: $10 - $20 per group of students

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) data is the inverse square rule. Using this rule, students then calculate the distance between the light source and the light meter at random placements. Finally, students extend this principle to model the manner in which distances to Cepheid variable stars are measured. The distance between the Cepheid (here the light source) and the Earth (the light meter) can be determined by comparing the output of the source to the amount of light received. An historic scientific breakthrough occurred when the period-luminosity relationship of Cepheids was quantified throughout the early 1900s. This breakthrough allowed astronomers to gain a more correct understanding of the dimensions of our galaxy and the universe beyond. This activity is part of the "Cosmic Times" teacher's guide and is intended to be used in conjunction with the 1929 Cosmic Times Poster. (View Less)

In this lesson, students simulate an experiment in which the discovery of dark energy can be made by plotting modern supernova distances on a Hubble Diagram. Data is provided in an Excel spreadsheet (see related resources). In order to complete this... (View More) activity, students should be familiar with Hubble's Law and the concepts of absolute luminosity, apparent luminosity, and Doppler shift (particularly redshift). This activity can be done using either a computer graphing program or manually with graph paper. This lesson is part of the "Cosmic Times" teacher's guide and is intended to be used in conjunction with the 2006 Cosmic Times Poster. (View Less)

In this lesson, students will explore the density of substances as a model for understanding the mass to light ratio as a predictor of dark matter. They will measure and calculate mass and volume to calculate the density of a foam ball. Students... (View More) will try to explain a discrepant event when data is not as expected (in this case a nerf ball that seems too heavy for its volume). Students will then use the concept of density, a ratio of mass to volume, to attempt to explain the mass to light ratio for luminosity and gravity. Advance preparation required. Materials needed for this activity include: small foam balls, tape measure, triple beam balance for each group, posterboards/construction paper, and markers (estimated materials cost doesn't include triple beam balances). This lesson is part of the Cosmic Times teachers guide and is intended to be used in conjunction with the 1965 Cosmic Times Poster. (View Less)

In this lesson, students explore how eclipses happen and why Einstein needed a total eclipse to image stars near the Sun in order to demonstrate how the Sun's mass bends the light from a far away star. Using a foam ball and a lamp, learners create a... (View More) solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse, and learn more about why the moon appears differently from one night to the next. The activity needs to be done in a very dark room and requires a very bright light (e.g., a lamp without a shade) and a very dim light (e.g., like one found on a keychain). This activity is part of the Cosmic Times teachers guide and is intended to be used in conjunction with the 1919 Cosmic Times Poster. (View Less)

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) into how this idea was reached, and inform students about the nature of our universe. This lesson is part of the Cosmic Times teacher's guide and is intended to be used in conjunction with the 1929 Cosmic Times Poster. (View Less)

In this two-part investigation, students explore the concept of transits. In the first part, they discover that a transit is an event where one body crosses in front of another, like when a planet goes in front of a star. In the second part,... (View More) students investigate how a planet's size and orbit affect the transit and then learn how to interpret transit graphs. Extension activities, an explanation of the mathematics used in the activity, background information, real data from NASA missions, and an answer key are included. (View Less)

In this activity, students compare two images of the Crab Nebula taken more than 40 years apart. By measuring the motion of some of the knots of glowing gas in the neubla, students will be able to determine the date of the supernova explosion that... (View More) set the Crab Nebula into motion. This is Activity 2 of the "Supernova Educator's Guide" developed by the XMM-Newton and GLAST E/PO programs. The guide features background information, assessment rubrics, student worksheets, extension and transfer activities, and alignment to national education standards. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)