Galaxy Hunter
Teacher Page: Overview


Description / Overview of the Lesson
How to prepare for an "Online exploration"
Process Skills Acquired
Target Audience / Grade Levels
Preparation Time
Execution Time
Field Tested
Last Update


Description / Overview of the Lesson:

This lesson reinforces students' understanding of simple random sampling using real data from the Hubble Deep Fields (HDFs). The Hubble Deep Fields - one looking north (HDF-N) and the other south (HDF-S) - are the deepest, sharpest, multi-color images of the faintest universe in visible light. A unique feature of the lesson is its reliance on the statistical analysis of real data. This data can be easily accessed from the Internet, independent of the lesson. Students will pick a sample of galaxies from one of the Deep Fields. They will determine if their sample data is valid by investigating bias in sampling techniques and the role of sample variability in determining the optimal sample size. A second sampling, from the second Deep Field, offers the chance to put improved sampling techniques to use. Comparisons between the students' valid data and the astronomers' results lead to a determination of whether the two Deep Fields are similar. The lesson concludes with an invitation to consider whether the distant universe of the Deep Fields is similar to the local universe.

How to Prepare for an “Online Exploration”

Decide if the activity meets your needs.

  1. Check out the activity ahead of time by working through it as your students will. As you go through the activity, pay attention to the following:
  2. Check out the “Teaching Tips” for the following information.
    • Overview: Serves as a broad, comprehensive summary of the activity, including a description, the concepts covered, prerequisites, and the target audience.
    • Science Background: Provides information about the science behind the activity. It clarifies important concepts used in the activity and contains a message from the scientist who worked with the team to develop it.
    • Lesson Plan: Addresses specific recommendations for using the activities, including learning outcomes, new vocabulary, misconceptions, engagement activities (under the heading procedure/directions), and follow-up activities. Includes suggestions for using the activity in one-computer classrooms and those without computers.
    • National Standards: Provides alignment between the activity and the National Science Education Standards, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Curriculum and Evaluation Standards, and the Project 2061 Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy Standards. Many state and local standards were developed from these so it should be easy to check for correlations.
    • Grab Bag: Provides resources for educators who wish to customize the activity. Includes images from the activity, which can be used to develop your own interactive lesson. Also identifies resources used in the activity and others related to the topic, which can be used by students and educators to do further research.

Before using the activities...

  1. Check out your computers.
  2. Determine a strategy for organizing your students. Options include the following:
  3. Think about how this online activity matches up with teaching materials that are already available to you. These might include:
    • Curriculum guides
    • Textbooks
    • Videos
    • Posters
    • Labs

Preparing students

  1. Share the objectives and the key vocabulary words used in the activity.
  2. Use a large monitor, LCD, or transparencies to give a preview of the activity and to demonstrate how to navigate within it.
  3. Give your students a computer/Web pre-assessment to determine their computer experience and/or competence.
  4. Organize your students in such a way that more experienced users are matched up with less experienced ones.
  5. Try one of the Suggested Engagement Activities, which can be found under Procedure/Directions in the Lesson Plan section of the activity’s Teaching Tips.

While students are doing an activity…

  1. Help individual students navigate through the activity.
  2. Provide options for those who finish the activity early:
    • Have them review the activity again to define key vocabulary words.
    • Have them visit related Web links to conduct additional research.
    • Have them completing some type of assessment activity. A number of these can be found under Follow-up Activities/Extensions in the Lesson Plan section of the activity’s Teaching Tips.

Using the activities without an Internet connection

  1. Order a CD of the activities.
  2. For activity-specific suggestions, consult the Classrooms Without Computers section (in the Lesson Plan section of the activity’s Teaching Tips).
  3. Print the information provided in the Science Background, which might be useful for content reading.
  4. Download the activity in advance from the Amazing Space Web site. Instructions are in the Computer Needs section accessed from the activity’s title page.
  5. Go to the activity’s Grab Bag section and select text, student activities, or other Internet links that direct you to related topics.







Before attempting to complete this lesson, the student should:

Process Skills Acquired:

Target Audience/Grade Levels:


Preparation Time:

    1. Time necessary to download computer software to support the lesson (Netscape Navigator 4.0).
    2. Time necessary to become familiar with the lesson.

Execution Time by Module:

The following are approximate times depending on your school's Internet location (e.g., classroom, library, computer lab), the number of computers available with Internet access, and the number of students in the class.

Field Tested:

In progress.

Last Update:

January 8, 2004


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