This series of activities provides a sample of possibilities for using the Digital Universe with your students. The activities were drafted in consultation with classroom teachers and museum experts, but have yet to be pilot tested in classrooms. They are an initial exploration into the educational possibilities for using the Digital Universe data set in the classroom.
Students learn about the construction of three dimensional models, first through creating their own three dimensional models of the constellation Orion and then by exploring Orion in the Digital Universe.
Students will begin to understand the role of observation as a means of gathering scientific data and will experiment with ways of looking (with the naked eye, under different circumstances and from different perspectives, and with aides such as binoculars or a digital model).
In building a three-dimensional model of a constellation, students practice skills of observation, inference and modeling that scientists use to study the structure of the universe. Students also learn about scale, perspective and distance by building a three-dimensional model of something they usually perceive as two-dimensional.
Students will learn about observation, representation, perspective and modeling by working up from two-dimensional perspective drawings to constructing and examining three-dimensional models.
This activity introduces students to a range of celestial objects that populate the galaxy, having them calculate estimates of how common each object is based on where they are—and are not—located. Students use their observational data of these objects to make inferences about larger population patterns throughout the galaxy and discuss estimation strategies and observational bias.