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Star Spectra Science: Using Balloons and Buttons to Model Spectroscopy
written by Rebecca Vieyra
published by the American Association of Physics Teachers
This lesson blends physics and Earth science as students explore the spectra of stars using a physical model composed of balloons and buttons. This activity introduces students to concepts of wavelength, color, and emission spectra. It is based on an article in The Physics Teacher.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Astronomy
- Fundamentals
= Spectra
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Modeling
Optics
- Color
- High School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Problem/Problem Set
= Student Guide
- Assessment Material
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Educators
- application/pdf
- application/ms-word
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Access Rights:
Available by subscription
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Association of Physics Teachers
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created February 17, 2017 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
June 2, 2017 by Bruce Mason
Last Update
when Cataloged:
January 30, 2017
Other Collections:

Next Generation Science Standards

Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer (HS-PS4)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
  • Use mathematical representations to support a claim regarding relationships among the frequency, wavelength, and speed of waves traveling in various media. (HS-PS4-1)

Earth's Place in the Universe (HS-ESS1)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
  • Communicate scientific ideas about the way stars, over their life cycle, produce elements. (HS-ESS1-3)

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Electromagnetic Radiation (PS4.B)
  • Electromagnetic radiation (e.g., radio, microwaves, light) can be modeled as a wave of changing electric and magnetic fields or as particles called photons. The wave model is useful for explaining many features of electromagnetic radiation, and the particle model explains other features. (9-12)
  • Atoms of each element emit and absorb characteristic frequencies of light. These characteristics allow identification of the presence of an element, even in microscopic quantities. (9-12)
The Universe and its Stars (ESS1.A)
  • The study of stars' light spectra and brightness is used to identify compositional elements of stars, their movements, and their distances from Earth. (9-12)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Patterns (K-12)
  • Different patterns may be observed at each of the scales at which a system is studied and can provide evidence for causality in explanations of phenomena. (9-12)
Scale, Proportion, and Quantity (3-12)
  • The significance of a phenomenon is dependent on the scale, proportion, and quantity at which it occurs. (9-12)
Systems and System Models (K-12)
  • When investigating or describing a system, the boundaries and initial conditions of the system need to be defined and their inputs and outputs analyzed and described using models. (9-12)
Energy and Matter (2-12)
  • Energy drives the cycling of matter within and between systems. (9-12)

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
  • Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. (9-12)
    • Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution. (9-12)
Developing and Using Models (K-12)
  • Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed worlds. (9-12)
    • Use a model to provide mechanistic accounts of phenomena. (9-12)
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (5-12)
  • Mathematical and computational thinking at the 9–12 level builds on K–8 and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions. (9-12)
    • Use mathematical representations of phenomena to describe explanations. (9-12)
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
R. Vieyra, , 2017, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14318&DocID=4677).
AJP/PRST-PER
R. Vieyra, Star Spectra Science: Using Balloons and Buttons to Model Spectroscopy, , 2017, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14318&DocID=4677>.
APA Format
Vieyra, R. (2017). Star Spectra Science: Using Balloons and Buttons to Model Spectroscopy. College Park: American Association of Physics Teachers. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14318&DocID=4677
Chicago Format
Vieyra, Rebecca. "Star Spectra Science: Using Balloons and Buttons to Model Spectroscopy." College Park: American Association of Physics Teachers, 2017. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14318&DocID=4677 (accessed 22 October 2017).
MLA Format
Vieyra, Rebecca. Star Spectra Science: Using Balloons and Buttons to Model Spectroscopy. College Park: American Association of Physics Teachers, 2017. 22 Oct. 2017 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14318&DocID=4677>.
BibTeX Export Format
@techreport{ Author = "Rebecca Vieyra", Title = {Star Spectra Science: Using Balloons and Buttons to Model Spectroscopy}, Institution = {American Association of Physics Teachers}, Address = {College Park}, Month = {January}, Year = {2017} }
Refer Export Format

%A Rebecca Vieyra
%T Star Spectra Science: Using Balloons and Buttons to Model Spectroscopy
%D January 30, 2017
%I American Association of Physics Teachers
%C College Park
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14318&DocID=4677
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Report
%A Vieyra, Rebecca
%D January 30, 2017
%T Star Spectra Science: Using Balloons and Buttons to Model Spectroscopy
%C College Park
%I American Association of Physics Teachers
%8 January 30, 2017
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14318&DocID=4677


Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.

Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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