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## AP/Calculus-Based Physics:Astronomy Units

Astronomy (literally, "law of the stars") is the science of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the Earth's atmosphere, such as stars, planets, comets, galaxies, and cosmic background radiation. It describes the physical and chemical properties of celestial objects with calculations of their motions. Astronomical observations provide essential information for the verification of fundamental theories in physics and to explain astronomical phenomena.

### Astronomy Resources For the High School Classroom (12)

#### Lesson Plans:

Ten standards-aligned lesson plans developed for grades 7-12 on space science and the evolution of the universe.  Topics include the electromagnetic spectrum, satellite image data analysis, the origin of the elements, supernovae, and gamma-ray bursts.  Look for the printable student guides.

#### Activities:

A terrific interactive tutorial on the evolution of stars.  It integrates activities, graphs, quizzes, and animations to trace a star's life from protostar stage through "old age" and death.

Explore both the Ptolemaic (geocentric) and Copernican (heliocentric) models of the solar system in this module that features two simulations, comprehensive student guide, pre-test, post-test, and content support for teachers.

Item Type: Simulation-Based Activity

In this module, you'll find simulations for introducing terrestrial coordinates (latitude/longitude), celestial equatorial coordinates, and how Earth's seasons are related to its axial tilt. It will help build a foundation for understanding obliquity, the angle between an object's rotational axis and a line perpendicular to its orbital plane. Knowledge of obliquity is crucial for astronomy calculations and Earth-based observation. Includes detailed student guide, assessment materials, and background information.

Item Type: Simulation-Based Activity

Here you'll find a rich array of visualization tools for a 3D exploration of our cosmic neighborhood. The website uses actual data and images generated from past and present space missions. Students can zoom, change lighting, "ride-on-board", do scale comparisons, and replay events in real or accelerated time. Adaptable for a range of grade bands and ability levels.

Item Type: Digital Tool

#### References and Collections:

A set of images of all the planets with accompanying video, statistics, and NASA exploration information.  Appropriate for high school and middle school.

Easy-to-navigate reference material that explains how astronomers use spectra to understand star composition, structure, and evolution.  Contains multiple drawings and photos.

A well-constructed guide to non-technical books, articles, and web sites about black holes. Don't miss the sections on the large black hole at the center of the Milky Way and links to animations that model the black hole phenomenon. All resources are appropriate for high school level.

Item Type: Reference Material

Beautifully organized website offers a wealth of information about the objects in our solar system, recent technology used to explore these worlds, space missions, and stories about the people behind the missions. Browse image galleries, explore multimedia resources, find lesson plans, or download videos and animations. Look under the sections on "Missions" and "Technology" for materials designed for high school learners.

Item Type: Digital Collection

#### Content Support For Teachers:

This set of materials pertaining to Kepler's laws includes equations and properties of conic sections, scale of the solar system, the energy equation for Keplerian motion, and Newton's "Universal Gravitation". It is part of a larger collection that offers lesson plans, lecture materials, and historical background.  No calculus is introduced.

#### Student Tutorials:

This website, sponsored by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is a cost free online workbook/tutorial on the fundamentals of radio astronomy.   It would be appropriate to augment a unit on electromagnetic radiation, and includes a unit exam.  Available in Adobe pdf format.

#### Assessment:

This is an assessment guide for STEM instructors.  Learn about research-based assessment design and view examples of varied classroom assessment techniques (CAT's).   Diagnostic pre-tests are included for both astronomy and physics learners.
*NOTE* Difficulties have been reported using this resource in the Firefox browser.

### Astronomy Activities (9)

#### Lesson Plans:

This learning module introduces the search for planets outside of our solar system using the radial velocity and transit methods.  Planets around other stars proved very elusive to find until 1995, when astronomers in Geneva detected an exoplanet using the radial velocity (or Doppler) technique. Since that time, hundreds of exoplanets have been discovered in this manner. A second detection technique (the transit method, used in The Kepler Mission) is also explored in this module.

Item Type: Interactive Tutorial
Duration: 1-2 Class Periods

#### Activities:

Learn about space and the objects in it.

A unique method to gauge and evaluate astronomical distances

A terrific interactive tutorial on the evolution of stars.  It integrates activities, graphs, quizzes, and animations to trace a star's life from protostar stage through "old age" and death.

A lesson plan on the topic of periodic motion.  Students analyze data  from satellites of various binary stars' orbital periods, then construct their own pendulum.  Animated instruction clips help students through each step of the process.

This learning module introduces the search for planets outside of our solar system using the radial velocity and transit methods.  Planets around other stars proved very elusive to find until 1995, when astronomers in Geneva detected an exoplanet using the radial velocity (or Doppler) technique. Since that time, hundreds of exoplanets have been discovered in this manner. A second detection technique (the transit method, used in The Kepler Mission) is also explored in this module.

Item Type: Interactive Tutorial
Duration: 1-2 Class Periods

#### Content Support For Teachers:

Supporting materials for astronomy and physics teachers

#### Student Tutorials:

Three simple and engaging interactive animations to help beginning students understand Kepler's three laws.

### Astronomy: An Historical Perspective (11)

#### Lesson Plans:

Kepler's Laws explained and illustrated

Appreciate the origins of astronomical objects.

Weather in Space? How can that be?

#### Activities:

Three simple and engaging interactive animations to help beginning students understand Kepler's three laws.

These simulations explore the universe as envisioned by early thinkers. Explore the Ptolemy's Model (geocentric) and Copernicus' Model (heliocentric). Contains student guide, pretest, post-test, and background info.

#### References and Collections:

How teachers are facilitating teaching strategies and leading innovation in science teaching

Looking for books and articles on Galileo written at the level of middle/high school? This resource guide will point you to book lists plus some excellent web sites and videos on the legendary scientist.

This gem of a resource lets students explore the background of 32 key women who have overcome prejudice and exclusion to make significant contributions to the field of astronomy. In addition, look for the annotated links to author-recommended web sites on the topic.

#### Student Tutorials:

Understanding orbital mechanics for students.

#### Assessment:

How NOT to teach astronomy

### Astronomy: Special K-12 Collections (7)

#### Activities:

NASA's Kepler Mission was launched in 2009 with the focused goal of surveying regions of the Milky Way Galaxy to discover Earth-size planets in the "habitable zone" of a star, where liquid water and possibly life might exist. You'll find classroom activities, interactive resources, simple animations showing how the detection system works, and galleries of photos, videos and 3D images.

Item Type: Digital Collection

This website, sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is dedicated to keeping the public updated about recent discoveries of extrasolar planets. You'll find information on exploratory missions, technology used to detect extrasolar planets, images and videos, and vignettes about the people involved in discovering other planets. Don't miss the Extreme Planet Makeover and the PlanetQuest Timeline.

Item Type: Digital Collection

Here you'll find a rich array of visualization tools for a 3D exploration of our cosmic neighborhood. The website uses actual data and images generated from past and present space missions. Students can zoom, change lighting, "ride-on-board", do scale comparisons, and replay events in real or accelerated time. Adaptable for a broad range of grade bands and ability levels.

Item Type: Digital Tool

#### References and Collections:

K-12 classroom activities and educational resources on infrared astronomy.  Sponsored by NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, find lesson plans for elementary and secondary teachers, games, image sets and videos of infrared and UV phenomena.

Item Type: Digital Collection

See virtual images of each planet and its moons as seen from Earth, the Sun, or from any other planet in the solar system.  Time parameters may be set from 1990-2025 to enable virtual viewing at certain dates.

Item Type: Digital Tool

This comprehensive NASA website, intended for adolescent learners, provides timely news and information about space exploration and space science.  Included are many creative resources, such as "Ask an Astrophysicist", "You Be the Astrophysicist", "Satellite Showcase", and the Cosmic Times newsletter.

Item Type: News Publication

NASA's Solar System Exploration website offers a wealth of information about the objects in our solar system, recent technology used to explore these worlds, space missions, and stories about the people behind the missions. Users will find image galleries, multimedia resources for teachers and learners, videos, animations, and other interactive features to explore the planets, comets, asteroids, the history of robotic exploration, and future missions.

Item Type: Digital Collection
Level: K-12

### Astronomy Resources for the K-8 Classroom (1)

#### Activities:

Build your own system of heavenly bodies and watch the gravitational ballet! This orbit simulator lets users set initial position, velocity, and masses for up to 4 planets. It was designed to help students form deeper understanding of how a planet's orbit is affected by its mass, speed, and distance from its sun.

Item Type: Interactive Simulation