Classifying the Universe

This is a great activity to do prior to a visit to an observatory.

In this activity, students will learn different ways of roughly separating the features of observable structures in the universe and will gain the tools needed for identifying what kinds of objects they can observe through telescopes when visiting the observatory.

Age Range: 10 – 13 years
Prep. Time: 30 minutes
Lesson Time: 35 minutes
Cost per activity: Cost of printing and optionally laminating the cards
Includes the use of: Printed cards

Slide Pack

Teacher Guide

Student Guide

Activity Resources

Life cycle of Stars

This session uses a mixture of group and individual work to explore Stellar Evolution. Students will learn about stars, comparing their life cycles of birth, life and death to that of humans. They will get to see how mass effects the type of star and the knock-on effect this has on the timeline of its life.

Age Range: 9-12
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Lesson Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cost per activity: Low (print cost only)
Includes the use of: Paper

Teacher Guide

Student Guide

Activity Resources

Stellar Heartbeats

This activity covers pulsating variable star cycles, considering how their brightness varies as if it were a heartbeat. Students will be asked to estimate data from an image and then convert it into a graph. They will then need to read data from the graph and consider what this implies.

Age Range: 12-16
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Lesson Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Cost per activity: Low (printer cost)
Includes the use of: Graph paper, ruler, pencil, print outs

Slide Pack

Teacher Guide

Student Guide

Activity Resources

Galaxy Distances using Tully-Fisher

The distance to the spiral galaxy NGC7331 can be estimated using the Tully-Fisher Relationship. In this activity we will calculate the distance to this spiral galaxy. Students will determine the rate of rotation of the galaxy, revealing its mass and likely luminosity. The apparent magnitude of the galaxy, as viewed from Earth can be used with the absolute magnitude to find the distance to NGC7331.

Age Range: 14-18
Prep. Time: 30 minutes
Lesson Time: 1 hour
Cost per activity: Low (printing costs)
Includes the use of: Calculator, pen, ruler, etc.

Teacher Guide and Model Answers

Student Guide

Dark Matter in Spiral Galaxies

In this project the students will gain insight into why astronomers think there are large amounts of dark matter in galaxies. Dark matter is material that is “dark” in the sense that it neither absorbs nor emits electromagnetic radiation (“light”). We can infer its presence through the gravitational effect it has on the matter we can see (stars and gas).   

MATERIALS

Classification of the Universe

In this activity, the students will learn different ways of roughly separating the features of observable structures in the universe and will gain the tools needed for identifying what kinds of objects they can observe through telescopes when visiting the observatory. 

MATERIALS