Star Light, Star Bright
Goal / Purpose
Desired Learning Outcomes
Physical Layout of Room
Procedure / Directions
Evaluation / Assessment
Follow-up Activities / Extensions
One Computer Classroom
Classrooms Without Computers
The purpose of this lesson is for students to acquire information about the electromagnetic spectrum and how its interpretation enables scientists to gather information about the universe. Star Light, Star Bright provides students with an interactive and flexible learning environment that allows students to follow their curiosity and to learn at their own pace.
Before attempting to complete this lesson, the student should:
It might be helpful to survey the students background knowledge as it relates to these prerequisites in a number of ways before using the computer lesson. You might do this by:
The amount of time needed to complete any of these modules will vary depending on such factors as the length of available teaching time and the number of computers to the number of students who need to use them. One possible way to jump start your lesson and eliminate the trial and error approach that is sometimes needed to become familiar with a new lesson, is to do one or a part of a module with the students as a directed activity using an overhead, a LCD, or TV monitor to project the lesson to the class. The following are estimated times:
Teachers may decide whether students work in small groups of two or three, or individually. No more than 3 students should share a computer in order to maximize learning. Adaptations can be made to accommodate classrooms with only a single computer with Internet access. These might include using an overhead projector with a LCD that projects the computer image on a screen or a hookup from a computer to a television monitor.
You can also do the Star Light, Star Bright lesson off-line! Different software programs, available through commercial vendors, provide off-line access to the Internet. These programs allow you to save Web pages to your local hard drive. Using your Netscape browser you are able to open the Web pages locally to experience the lesson as if you were on the Internet. Using this option will deny students' access to the rest of the Web pages available on the World Wide Web.
This lesson requires a computer with a color monitor and Internet connection. The Web browser used must have at least the capability of Netscape's Navigator 4.0. For additional information read the Computer Needs section.
This is a self-directed interactive computer activity. Students may work independently or in small groups to complete each lesson module. They will investigate different concepts related to the electromagnetic spectrum by examining relationships among wavelength, color, and temperature. Using what they have learned from the three modules "Catch the Waves," "Making Waves," and "Heating Up," students will be ready to do the final module "Stellar Encounters," where they determine the temperature of a variety of stars found in images from the Hubble Space Telescope and other sources.
Here are some suggestions:
Star Light, Star Bright is divided into four modules, "Catch the Waves", "Making Waves", "Heating Up", and "Stellar Encounters". The first three modules can be done in no particular order. However, the "Stellar Encounters" module is an application activity that asks students to practice what they have learned in the three previous modules. Many of the individual pages of this lesson have additional related facts and thought questions about the topic being developed. This information is not visible to the student unless the cursor is placed on "Light Facts" or "Brain Teasers" which causes a new information window to pop up on the screen. A robot serves to direct the student to these places by pointing to the choice selected. Both "Light Facts" and "Brain Teasers" can be printed and used in a variety of ways. The students could select topics of their interest to do homework assignments, oral reports, or perhaps an independent research paper. Teachers may find that using selected topics from the "Facts" and "Teasers" windows is an interesting way to challenge new thinking about light and color. The four lesson modules are structured in the following way.
Catch the Waves introduces the students to the electromagnetic spectrum. Students will view the spectrum in its entirety and become familiar with the characteristics of a wave. Images of the sun in different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum illustrate that the Sun and other bodies emit light in regions of the electromagnetic spectrum that our eyes cannot see.
Making Waves provides students with a method to generate waves on the screen. They choose the energy they want the waves to have, and then they are asked to measure the frequency and wavelength. Students uncover the relationships among frequency, wavelength and energy.
Heating Up introduces the idea that everything emits electromagnetic radiation, including students. Students discover how the light emitted from the robot changes as they heat the robot to higher and higher temperatures. At each temperature, a graph pops up to show the amount of light the robot emits in each wavelength region. The students will be asked to relate the peak of the emitted light to the color it appears to us, connecting the color of a radiating object with its temperature. They will apply this information to plot the peak wavelengths of 4 stars of their choice, and then they will determine the temperature of each.
Stellar Encounters asks the students to use what they have learned in the previous modules to determine the temperatures of stars. Students will use Hubble Space Telescope images to pick out different stars from other galaxies and from clusters of stars within our own Galaxy. They will order these from the hottest to the coolest.
At the end of each of the modules, "Catch the Waves," Making Waves," and Heating Up," there is an activity called "What Do You Know?" that summarizes key lesson ideas. Also included is a more challenging level of thinking called "Beats Me-You Explain It." This activity asks the student a series of thought provoking application type of questions related to the concepts that were developed in the module. "Stellar Encounters" is an assessment module that bases its information on what has been learned in the other three modules. Here, the students are asked to apply their knowledge in a way that astronomers would use it to interpret the light received from distant stars and galaxies.
CATCH THE WAVES:
Questions | Answers
Questions | Answers
Questions | Answers
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS TO "BRAIN TEASERS"
|Catch the Waves||- 1
a / b / c
- 2 a
- 3 a
- 4 a / b
|Making Waves||- 5
a / b
||- 5 a / b|
|Heating Up||- 6
a / b / c
- 7 a
- 7 a
8 a / b
||- 8 a / b|
Students may be given new images and data found at the Space Telescope Science Institute home page. This could be shown directly to the class using an overhead projector and a LCD or television monitor. This information could also be printed out as a paper copy to be analyzed and compared to what they have learned about light and the electromagnetic spectrum in the "Star Light Star Bright" computer lesson. Picture images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope are also available at your closest NASA Educator Resource Center.
Connections to other disciplines can be used to broaden classroom discussion of the general principles learned in Star Light, Star Bright.
Q: Bees have eyes that see ultraviolet radiation as well as visible light. If you were a flower who wanted only bees and not moths to visit you, what could you do to make sure bees (and not moths) get the message?
Q: Humans are nearly blind to most wavelengths of light. If you lost your ability to see visible light, but could choose another wavelength region of the electromagnetic spectrum, what would you choose? Describe how you would see the world around you.
Q: When you have an X-ray taken at the hospital, and you see your bones on the photographic plate, what are you really looking at? Hint: It's not your bones that you see!
Q: Just like the invisible light waves that we cannot see with our eyes, are there sound waves that our ears don't hear?
It is recommended that teachers project the images from the computer onto a classroom screen using a overhead LCD or television screen. To facilitate a more organized and predictable large group presentation and not encounter last minute glitches that can always occur when using a computer, the following are some suggestions you might want to consider. Bookmark a selected part of the lesson such as one of the modules that you wish to use and download it onto your hard disk. This will eliminate the inconvenience of unexpectedly going off the Internet. Another way to prepare is to print ahead of time selected parts of the lesson as paper copies. Possible choices to consider might include "Light Facts," "Brain Teasers," "What Do You Know," and "Beats Me-You Explain It." Students can use this information to do additional research on a question or topic area that interests them.
Here are some suggestions:
(1) using a diffraction grating to demonstrate that visible light can be separated into colors. Further exploration can be conducted using red and blue gel filters.
(2) using a spectrum power supply and gas discharge tubes with diffraction grating to demonstrate that different gases produce different spectra.
(3) attaching one of a rope to a door knob to create waves by moving one end of the rope up and down.
This lesson is easily followed without additional teacher support if the prerequisites are met. Parents can preview the lesson and examine the teacher pages ahead of time. A wealth of information can be found at Hubblesite, the Hubble Space Telescope's website at the Space Telescope Science Institute. Here you can find background information on the telescope, pictures and news releases of past and present stories, education activities, and other science resources.
More information for the home-schooled can be found at:
- American Homeschool Association Web Page (http://www.home-ed-magazine.com/AHA/aha.html)
- Yahoo Homeschooling Directory (http://dir.yahoo.com/Education/Theory_and_Methods/Homeschooling/)
- The "Home Schooling Trading Post" (http://www.startup-page.com/homeschl.htm)
- The Home School Learning Network (http://www.homeschoollearning.com)
- Griffith, Mary. The Homeschooling Handbook. Prima Publishing, CA, 1997.
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