Astrophysics - Unit Detail

Total duration

16 lessons, 1 hour each

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Lesson 2.1 – The scale and nature of the universe

Learning outcomes

In this lesson students will explore:

Big ideas

Learning Sequence

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  1. Welcome students to second lesson and encourage several of the students new to this unit to introduce themselves to each other and the class.
  2. Teacher to provide a brief review of the key ideas introduced in the previous lesson.
  3. Investigation – Students use a basketball and a tennis ball to represent the Earth and Moon respectively. Using these materials, they estimate how far away the Moon should be from the Earth to be to scale and state estimate to class. Add photos to a shared Google presentation, and/or watch the Prezi presentation clip to discover the actual distance. Resources
  4. Reflection – As a follow up to see that most people under estimate the Earth-Moon distance watch YouTube - How far away is the moon? Resources
  5. Investigation – Teacher led instruction using overhead camera and white board about wave theory, covering, period, amplitude, wavelength, frequency and velocity. Also introduce general wave equation; v = λ f , and f = 1 / T
  6. Collaboration – Students work in small groups to solve a series of questions related to wave theory and then post solutions on their blog.
  7. Investigation – Teacher clarification of the home learning tasks for week 3.1 on how students are going to be collecting their own observational data on a Cepheid variable star.

Home Learning

  1. Activity (1.2.5) - Students investigate the YouTube Physics Nobel Prize 2011 interview (7:12mins) Resources
  2. Activity (2.1.4) - Brian Schmidt’s research discussed during Minute Physics (1:39mins) Resources
  3. Students are encouraged to post thoughts and/or comments about the ideas raised in the lesson in the NVSES Blog space: I was pleased with the way I _________ during today's lesson but feel that I could improve the way I ______________ by doing ____________________.
  4. Activity (2.1.5) - Watch the TED Talk by Richard Dawkins, Why the Universe seems so strange Resources