Astrophysics - Unit Detail
16 lessons, 1 hour each
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Lesson 2.1 – The scale and nature of the universe
In this lesson students will explore:
- The scale of the Universe - realising that it is so immense that we cannot use familiar terrestrial units to measure the huge astronomical distances.
- How many properties of light can allow it to be modelled as a wave.
- The key properties that are used to define a wave (period, amplitude, frequency, wavelength and speed).
- The scale of the Universe is vast and impossible to imagine.
- Traditional methods for measuring the distance between astronomical object are no longer feasible.
- Some properties of light and EM radiation allow us to measure characteristics of very distant objects.
Learning SequenceShow all resources
Welcome students to second lesson and encourage several of the students new to this unit to introduce themselves to each other and the class.
Teacher to provide a brief review of the key ideas introduced in the previous lesson.
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
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
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
Collaboration – Students work in small groups to solve a series of questions related to wave theory and then post solutions on their blog.
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.
Activity (1.2.5) - Students investigate the YouTube Physics Nobel Prize 2011 interview (7:12mins) Resources
Activity (2.1.4) - Brian Schmidt’s research discussed during Minute Physics (1:39mins) Resources
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 ____________________.
Activity (2.1.5) - Watch the TED Talk by Richard Dawkins, Why the Universe seems so strange Resources
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