Astrophysics - Unit Detail

Total duration

16 lessons, 1 hour each

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Lesson 4.1 – Stellar evolution

Learning outcomes

In this lesson students will explore:

Big ideas

Learning Sequence

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  1. Welcome students to this lesson and encourage several of the students new to this unit to introduce themselves to each other and the class.
  2. Investigation – Activity (4.1.1) – Teacher uses Prezi to explore the key ideas of an evolutionary pathway for stars as depicted in the main sequence on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. Resources
  3. Students are also introduced to nebulae and the effect that gravitational compression plays in imitating nuclear fusion and the birth of stars.
  4. Discussion – Teacher discusses examples of stars with different characteristics (mass, temperature, colour, rotation) to demonstrate that not all stars are the same. E.g. Brown Dwarfs, Yellow stars and Blue giants and Cepheid variables.
  5. Collaboration – Teacher invites questions and uses chat session to respond to students’ questions and links back to review progress with the Cepheid observational task.
  6. Investigation – Activity (4.1.2) – Teacher uses Prezi to explore how the life cycle of a star is dependent on its mass which in turn regulates how hot it becomes and how rapidly it consumes its nuclear fuel. Resources
  7. Discussion – Teacher discusses the special cases of supernovae, white dwarfs, neutron stars and how we are made of matter that has been created in stellar nuclear reactions.

Home Learning

  1. Students to view the following Activity (4.1.3) YouTube clip - Atomic Cannon, used during the Trinity Atomic Bomb testing. Resources
  2. Students are encouraged to continue engagement with Cepheid Variable Star Activity (3.1.2) Beta Doradus – A Yellow Super Giant, observation task and to plot their observations on the Google spread sheet available on the NVSES shared Google drive Resources
  3. Student explore Activity (4.1.4) - The Galaxy Zoo Resources

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