## Teacher Resources: Supplemental Activities

### Introduction: Your Place in the Universe

Determining Prior Knowledge—here are two activities for teachers to use to determine prior knowledge of students as they begin this project.

1. What are your ideas about the Universe? Cosmic Survey—Cosmic Questions Educator Guide pages 9-16
2. Modeling the Universe—Cosmic Questions Educator Guide pages 17-19

Size and Scale of the Universe—as students begin to think about the vastness of our Universe, these activities can be used to reinforce the concept that even the nearest star lies enormously far beyond our own solar system.

1. Time Travel to the Edge of the Universe and Back
• Students study the size of the universe, calculate the time to travel to near and distant destinations, and construct a time scale model of the universe by using time travel distances.
• Website: www.pbs.org/deepspace/classroom/activity1.html
2. The Scale of the Realms of the Universe —from Modeling the Universe: An Exploration in Space and Time
3. How big is our Universe (an exploration through space and time)
4. Our place in space (UniverseForum)

### Part One: Detect an Alien World and Find Out What It's Like

#### To support Activity 1.2: Detecting an alien planet I: Modeling a Transit

These brief videos can serve as an introduction for students as they begin to think about how they will determine if there is a planet orbiting their star.

1. Website: dsc.discovery.com/videos/space-3-questions-exoplanets.html
Intro to transiting planets—Discovery Channel, April 2008 (2min 11 sec)
2. Website: planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/gallery_index.cfm
• PlanetQuest: the Movie
• Four Ways to Find a Planet

#### To support Activity 1.4: Create a first portrait of your planet (distance from Earth to your planet)

As students begin to calculate the distance of their star from the Earth, these activities can be used to help them comprehend vast distances and in their understand of the inverse square law.

1. Demonstrating the Distances of Stars
• In this activity, students use a piece of black paper to create a sample star field. They will transform this two-dimensional star field into a three-dimensional star field by shining light from an overhead projector across the room.
• Website: www.pbs.org/deepspace/classroom/activity3.html
2. Inverse square law—A quick and easy activity using a flashlight
3. Inverse square law—Two activities for those using light sensors.

### Part Two: Looking for a Habitable Planet... and Life

This brief video, featuring Lisa Kaltenegger, can be used to help students transition from collecting evidence to using models.
Website: www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/0402/01-life-flash.html

#### To support Activity 2.2: Searching for oceans, ice and land. Decoding the light reflected from a planet

1. This hands-on activity introduces the concept of albedo to students.
2. This video shows the Moon transiting Earth.
3. Exploring the Spectrum—Cosmic Questions Educator Guide pages 22-24

#### To support Activity 2.3: Detecting plant life using infrared light

1. This website provides information and activities for grades K-12 on infrared astronomy.