The
Seasons and the Sun in the Sky
How
Many Days are in a Year?:
This
calculational activity by Evan Manning helps familiarize students
with the Gregorian calendar, and then asks them to come up with
a calendar system for another planet where the year is also not
an integer multiple of days. [m,h]
Length
of the Day:
In
this advanced observing activity by Steven Edberg, students observe
the transit time of the Sun and the stars and discover that the
solar day is not equal to the sidereal day. [h]
Making
a Sun Clock:
Instructions
for building a sunclock, using their printout and a compass, to
measure local solar time. [e, m]
table
of contents
Constellations
and Sky Observing
Create
a Constellation:
To
help students see how different cultures invented different visual
interpretations of the same groups of stars, they are given a "new"
star constellations and asked to draw a figure connecting many of
the stars and then to invent a legend to go with it. Comes with
a nice resource sheet showing how Ursa Major was seen by many different
cultures. Part of the "Astro Adventures" book by Dennis Schatz and
Doug Cooper. [e,m]
Find
That Planet:
Alan
Gould guides students on how to use the Web to find the location
(ephemeris) of a planet in the sky for their location on Earth and
their selected observing time and then to plot the positions they
obtain on a sky map. [m,h]
Pinhole Protractor:
This
activity, by Gene Byrd and Renato Dupke, teaches students to build
and use an inexpensive device for estimating the angular sizes of
objects. You need to scroll down past the main article to get to
the activity. [m,h]
Sighting
Angular Size:
Brief
plans to help students construct a simple quadrant for measuring
angular size and altitude in the sky. [m,h]
Sky
Paths: Studying the Movement of Celestial Objects:
Basic,
openended observing activity for young children, in which they
learn awareness of motions in the day and night sky, and discuss
how skyrelated myths might come about. [e]
table
of contents
The
Scale of the Solar System
Build
a Solar System:
Offers
a spreadsheet to make a scale model of the solar system and beyond.
Letés you scale things to the unit of a sheet of toilet paper, so
students can measure scale by unrolling a roll of it. [a]
Cosmic
Wheels: Measuring the Orbits of Planets:
Out
in the playground, students make a model of the orbits of the planets
and their orbital periods. Suggests using part of a videotape to
give clues, but can easily be done without the video. Part of the
SETI Institute Life in the Universe curriculum. [e]
Grapefruit
Saturn:
Students
construct a scale model of Saturn and its ring system. [m,h]
How High Up is Space?
Students construct a scale model of the Earth's atmosphere, where
the height of Mt. Everest is equal to the width of a pencil. Then they
see where different things (airplane flights, the beginning of space,
the Hubble) fit on that scale. Most students are quite surprised by the
results.
Scale
in the Solar System:
Students
make a scale solar system, a scale Saturn system, and a scale model
of a comet. These not original, but they are clearly explained by
Mary Urquhart, who worked with several NASA projects. [m.h]
Scale
Model Saturn:
Students
construct a 3D scale model of Saturn, its rings, and Titan from
everyday materials in this activity by Mary Urquhart. [e,m]
Scrunch
the Universe:
Very
basic activity, building a scale model of the EarthMoon system;
also teaches the simple math of ratios and scaling. [e, m]
The
ThousandYard Model: The Earth as a Peppercorn:
Making
a scale model of the sizes and spacings of the planets using common
household materials. A classic activity by Guy Ottewell. [a]
Toilet
Paper Solar System:
A
classic activity by the late Gerald Mallon is redone by Elizabeth
Roettger. Students use rolls of toilet paper to measure of the scale
of the solar system. [e,m]
table
of contents
