Printed Guides and Lesson Plans
Interactive Web Features
Presentations for Informal Educators
Presentations for Scientists and
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The Incredible Two-inch Universe –(pdf)
Explore the vast distances in the universe in just four steps!
2-inch Universe activity booklet
Beyond the Solar System (professional development
How can teachers and students explore some of the biggest questions
about our place in space and time? This DVD draws upon the latest scientific
and educational research to create exciting new video, print, and web
resources for "expanding the universe in the classroom." Explore
some of these activities at the ‘Modeling the Universe’ workshop
web site or request a copy of the final DVD from the Beyond the Solar
System home page.
a copy of the DVD
How big is our universe? (website with
When Einstein’s papers were published, the universe was commonly
thought to be a single galaxy. We now know that our own Milky Way is one
of billions of galaxies that populate the universe. Using this web site
and downloadable booklet, find your place in the universe, beginning on
planet Earth in our very own Solar System, and travel outward to the realm
of stars, the galaxies, and finally, the vast panorama of the observable
universe. Recommended for Grades 5-12 and general audiences.
Cosmic Questions Educators’ Guide (pdf)
74-page booklet, developed to accompany the Cosmic Questions exhibition,
includes explorations of black holes and the expanding universe, as well
as activities for placing our understanding of Einstein’s universe
in an everyday context. Recommended for teachers of Grades 7-12.
Cosmic Survey: What are your ideas about the universe?
As Einstein developed his ideas about space and time, he explored humanity’s
place in the cosmos. This image-sorting activity lays the groundwork for
discussions about the size, scale and history of the universe. How do
we fit in? Recommended for Grades 6-12 and informal educators.
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MicroObservatory Online Telescope Center
You be the astronomer as you explore the universe with online
telescopes. Pictures of your choosing will be taken that very night and
emailed to you within 48 hours of your request.
Gamma Ray Bursts
About twice a day, there is a sudden flash of gamma rays in the sky.
These flashes, called gamma ray bursts, are thought to be the telltale signal
of black holes being born. Telescopes in space are detecting these flashes of
light and relaying their coordinates to this real-time sky map, allowing observers
here on Earth to follow up and learn more about these enigmatic bursts.
How Fast Do Galaxies Move? (interactive applet)
Einstein’s ideas about the expansion of the universe are at the
forefront of modern cosmology. Edwin Hubble’s observations of galactic
motion offered concrete evidence to support Einstein’s work.
This interactive laboratory offers a hands-on exploration of spectra
and galactic motion in the expanding universe. Recommended for teachers and students,
Spacetime Laboratory (interactive applet)
modern story of black holes began with Einstein’s revolutionary
theory of gravity. Now, almost a century later, we have actual evidence
to support these ideas. What really happens at the edge of a black hole? Explore
the effect black holes have on space and time in this interactive laboratory. Recommended
for general audiences.
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The Universe Forum has created a collection
of interactive demonstrations especially for museums and planetariums.
Each demonstration contains a core script and accompanying visual resources
to supplement the hands-on activities.
Journey to the Beginning of Time
Einstein imagined what it would be like to ride on a
beam of light. If we could travel through space at the cosmic speed limit,
what would we find? This interactive presentation uses a series of hands-on
demonstrations to model the size and scale of the universe using everyday
objects and travel through time with volunteer “human photons”
to discover what the universe looked like in its infancy. Recommended
for informal educators for use with general audiences.
to the Beginning of Time
Journey through the Expanding Universe
The idea of an unchanging universe was well established at the
turn of the 20th century. When Einstein introduced his revolutionary ideas,
the thought of an expanding universe was preposterous. Now, nearly one
hundred years later, we have actual evidence to support the story of an
accelerating, expanding universe. This hands-on demonstration offers interactive
explorations modeling the ways in which we explore distance and motion
in the universe.
through the Expanding Universe
Journey to a Black Hole
What is a black hole? How are they made? Where can you find them?
How do they influence the space and time around them? Created using hands-on
activities and stunning visual resources from NASA's exploration of the
universe, this demonstration takes audiences on a mind-bending adventure
through our universe.
to a Black Hole
Black Hole Explorer
What evidence do we have to understand Einstein’s predictions
about the strange creatures known as ‘black holes’? Expect
the unexpected in this board game and learn how black holes affect the
space and time around them. Recommended for ages 10 and up. Includes
recommendations and materials for playing in large groups.
Girl Meets Boy: A Comedy About the Universe
Einstein’s legacy is more than just his scientific publications.
A true citizen of the universe, Einstein valued non-scientific pursuits
as well. This twenty minute play, developed in conjunction with the Cosmic
Questions exhibition, follows a poet and an astronomer on their journey
to discover the nature of love, life, and the universe. Recommended
for all ages.
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The Universe Forum has created a collection
of prepared presentations for scientists and engineers that offer a graphics-rich
context for introducing today's scientific investigations to general audiences.
These presentations are designed to be supplemented by scientists' own
Space Time Telescopes
In 1905, Einstein’s ideas about the universe were considered
improbable and unbelievable. Over the last century, new technology has
provided new evidence for the some of his most astonishing predictions.
This presentation and the accompanying hands-on demonstrations describe
the revolutionary spacecraft that are helping NASA explore the limits
of space and time, and offer scientists an opportunity to put their own
research into a technological context.
Hunting for Black Holes
Einstein himself never predicted that we would one day be able
to explore actual black holes. However, using new technology and techniques,
scientists have discovered black holes are everywhere – in our galaxy
and others! With the help of computer simulations, we can actually model
what happens to space and time around a black hole and compare that with
observations. This presentation provides background and graphics for putting
these black holes into context with the rest of the universe.
for Black Holes
Our Expanding Universe
Albert Einstein is often called the father of modern cosmology. How
did his ideas fit into the existing cosmological model of 1905? What did
we know about the universe then? What have we learned over the last century?
Discover how Einstein’s Universe created a new paradigm for thinking
about the cosmos and how space science research in the 21st century is
poised to explore “Beyond Einstein.”
Our Expanding Universe (ppt)
Gravitational lensing provided the first proof of Einstein's new theory
of gravity and handed astronomers an incredible tool in their quest to
uncover the deepest mysteries of our universe. This presentation explains
how gravity behaves like a lens, distorting and magnifying our view of
the cosmos, and tells the story of the scientific discoveries confirming
this idea and how astronomers currently use lensing to explore the early
universe, the nature of dark matter, and extra-solar planets.
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