Death of Sun-like starsLife Cycle of Stars

Overview
Students in grades 9-12 analyze characteristics that indicate human life cycles, and then apply these observational principles to various NASA pictures of stars to synthesize patterns of stellar life cycles. 

Learner Outcomes

By completing this activity, the learner will: 

  • sequence pictures of human beings by age.
  • describe the observational characteristics used to determine a life cycle.
  • observe NASA images of stars at various life cycle stages.
  • synthesize a stellar life cycle based on observation.
  • contrast students' star life sequences with astronomers' sequence.
  • create a star life cycle concept map.
National Science Education Standards

National Mathematics Education Standards

Materials and Technology

Scientific Background

Teacher Lesson Plans

Activity 1: Classify pictures of humans in order from youngest to oldest and write a detailed description of how you determined this sequence.

Activity 2: Classify pictures of BIG stars from birth formation to stellar death and write a detailed description of how you determined this sequence.


Teacher Lesson Plans

Activity 1: Investigating the Human Life Cycle

Activity Page One (unsequenced human life cycle page) shows eight pictures of humans at various ages. Your FIRST task is to figure out and record the correct sequence of pictures from youngest to oldest.  Pay careful attention to how you determine the sequence because your SECOND task is to write a detailed description so clear that other students will understand it, and be able to use it as a model to come up with the same sequence.  This might not be as easy as it appears.  THIRD, check your sequence with the expert sequence (sequenced human life cycle page) and propose explanations for any discrepencies.

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Activity 2: Sequencing NASA Images of Massive Stars

Activity Page Two (unsequenced large star cycle page) shows eight NASA images from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).  These are pictures of the formation sequence of really BIG stars.  Your FIRST task is to figure out and record the correct sequence of pictures from birth formation to stellar death.  Pay careful attention to how you determine the sequence because your SECOND task is to write a detailed description so clear that other students will understand it, and be able to use it as a model to come up with the same sequence.  Each picture is hyperlinked to a description of the picture for background information IF you need it.  THIRD, check your sequence with the expert sequence (sequenced large star cycle page) and propose reasons for any discrepencies. FOURTH, and most important, write a paragraph or two that describes the sequence of stellar formation, life cycle, and death.  Use sketches or pictures from the WWW to support your description. 

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Lesson Debriefing

Assessment