This chapter begins with a discussion of electromagnetic radiation, types of telescopes, and ways of gathering information from our universe. It provides information about early space exploration and concludes with a description of recent and current space exploration.
See the following Web sites for appropriate laboratory activities:
Students can learn how optics are used in telescopes with the lab at the following URL (go to Lesson 3). In the lab, students will experiment with different types of lenses until they identify a combination of lenses that can magnify a distant object. As an adjunct to the lab, give students an opportunity to use a telescope if possible. Otherwise, let them use binoculars to give them an idea of how a telescope works.
The lab activity “Mapping Worlds that Look Like Stars” (see URL below) will allow students to simulate methods developed by astronomers to map objects too distant to show detail when viewed with a telescope.
These Web sites may also be helpful:
The following interactive Web site is an in-depth exploration of the telescope, including the history of the telescope and the basic science behind it. It is a useful addition to the first lesson in this chapter for you and/or your students.
Students can explore space and take telescopic images with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics’ MicroObservatory network of automated telescopes, which can be controlled over the Internet. You can learn more about the program at this URL: http://mo-www.harvard.edu/OWN/about.html
At the URLs below, you can find links to a wide variety of educational resources on astronomy.
You can find a detailed interactive space exploration timeline at the following URL. It covers space exploration for the period 1957 to 2007.
Go to the URL below for a collection of space exploration videos.
For more on NASA and its space missions, you can find a large collection of links suitable for middle school students at this URL: http://www.kidinfo.com/science/space_travel.html.
Pacing the Lessons
Class Period(s) (60 min)
23.2 Early Space Exploration
23.3 Recent Space Exploration