Type:

Lesson Plan, Other

Description:

In this activity, students will learn about populations of stars by making an analogy with human populations. They will graph properties of humans and stars (the latter using real astronomical data) and look for relationships between the properties they graph. Finally, they will determine what can be learned about each population using this technique and decide ways in which the technique is limited.

This activity serves as an introduction to stellar astronomy, but it also works as an illustration of the general methods that scientists use when confronted with a new set of data that they are trying to understand.

The activity is aimed at a high school audience, but it could easily be modified for use with middle school students. The essential activities can be covered in 40 minutes, or the entire project can be stretched to 4 hours or even much longer. (The activity is broken up into several sections that teachers are free to select from, and time estimates for each section are included.)

This resource is hosted by the Cornell Science Inquiry Partnerships (CSIP) program.

Subjects:

  • Science > General
  • Science > Astronomy
  • Science > General Science
  • Science > Process Skills

Education Levels:

  • Grade 9
  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12

Keywords:

population graph stars astronomy Hertzsprung-Russell graphing graphs

Language:

English

Access Privileges:

Public - Available to anyone

License Deed:

Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike
This resource has not yet been aligned.
Curriki Rating
On a scale of 0 to 3
3
On a scale of 0 to 3

This resource was reviewed using the Curriki Review rubric and received an overall Curriki Review System rating of 3, as of 2009-06-24.

Component Ratings:

Technical Completeness: 3
Content Accuracy: 3
Appropriate Pedagogy: 3

Reviewer Comments:

In this comprehensive and engaging data-focused activity, students will learn about populations of stars by making an analogy with human populations. They will graph properties of humans and stars (the latter using real astronomical data) and look for relationships between the properties they graph. Finally, they will determine what can be learned about each population using this technique and decide ways in which the technique is limited. Core activities can be covered in 40 minutes or the entire project can be done over many class periods. This excellent activity is appropriate for high school students, but could be modified for use with younger students and is broken up into nine sections that teachers may choose. These sections include time estimates and suggested activity combinations. In addition, the activities are aligned with the National Science Education Standards and New York State Content Standards for grades 9-12. This material was developed through the Cornell Science Inquiry Partnership program and includes everything a teacher needs to get started: activity procedures, astronomical data, photographs, sample data, and blank graphs and charts.
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Lee Ann Stover
April 28, 2013

I tried to link to this lesson and there is nothing there

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Christine Mytko
June 24, 2009

What a great way to get kids thinking about data! The discussion questions are structured such that students can easily answer questions about the photos of human populations, then directly transfer these observations to the actual astronomical data.

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