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The Universe

Michele Ballinger, Gifted Specialist
Columbus City Schools
Columbus, OH

Name________________________________   Period__________  to be Completed ____________ 

Goals: Explain the lifecycle of a star and the phases of the moon.  Describe how galaxies are formed and constellations within galaxies.


Directions: Choose tasks to complete for each layer.  You must demonstrate knowledge for each level before moving on to the next layer.  Your teacher will question you based on the activities you chose and how well you completed each task.  Be sure to label activity on your Table of Contents and either complete or attach activity inside lab notebook. 

Your browser may not support display of this image.1. Build vocabulary using words on pages 2-23 (Terms to Learn) by creating flashcards

     or crossword puzzle (may use puzzle maker on computer). Must include definitions

     on cards and puzzle.   You may not do # 2 if you choose #1. (10 points) 

2.  Define words on pages 2-23 (Terms to Learn). You may not do #1 if you do #2.  (10 points) 

3.  Outline pages 2-23 using standard outline form below:  (10 points)

                  I.  Main Heading 

                        A.  Sub Heading

                              1.  Important facts or ideas (at least two)




                  II. Next Sub-Heading 

  1. Create a brochure illustrating a map of the stars.  Be sure to explain what constellations are and their importance to ancient civilizations.  (10 points)
  1. Answer the questions at the end of the each lesson on pages 10, 17 and 23.  (5 points each)

6.   Compare ancient astronomical activities by creating a table or chart.  Be sure to list

      the name of each group and their accomplishments. (10 points) 

7.    Compare ancient calendars to modern calendar using a Venn diagram.  (10 points) 

  1. Chapter Review Worksheet “Observing the Sky”.  Explain the similarities and

       differences in their meaning.  (10 points) 

9.    Create a celestial guide book for the novice stargazer that includes a glossary of

        astronomical terms.  Include diagrams, illustrations, and analogies.  (15 points)


10.      Make a foldable illustrating one of the phases, cycles, relationships of our solar system. 

           Some examples include lifecycle of a star, moon phases, formation of a galaxy, earth-

           sun-moon relationship.  (10 points) 

Your browser may not support display of this image. 

(10 Pts.) 1.  Use the internet, research why many people were reluctant to accept Copernicus’s theory

                    about the sun-centered universe.  Summarize your findings and be sure to cite the source. 


(15 Pts.) 2.  Investigate some of the theories about the astronomical significance of Stonehenge.  Include

                    a diagram in your report that show how archaeologists think Stonehenge originally looked

                    and how the sun’s movement could be tracked by this structure. 

(15 Pts.) 3.   Research stories about Sirius from Egyptian mythology and find out more about Egyptian

                     astronomy.  Be sure to present your findings in a creative manner such as poster, power

                     point, creative writing, etc.  

(15 Pts.) 4.   Complete the Start-Up Activity on page 3 (Astrolabe).  Follow the procedures and write

                     down all  observations.  Complete the analysis on another piece of paper.  

(10 Pts.) 5. Identify two astronomers who favored an Earth-centered universe and two

            astronomers who favored a sun-centered universe.  Explain their reasoning for

          their theories. 

(15 Pts.) 6.  Mystery of the floating penny.  Place a penny in the center of a small bowl place on a

                     table.  Back up until you can no longer see the penny.  Have a partner pour water

                     slowly into the bowl until the penny “floats” into view.   Be sure to record your

                     observations.  Explain why the penny appears to “float” into view.  How does this

                     experiment relate to telescopes?  Refer to page 19 for support.


(15 Pts.)  7.   Research different types of telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope, Gamma-

                      ray, Radio, Optical and X-ray telescopes.  Make a model of one of the above

                      telescopes or create a poster depicting each type.  Be prepared to explain differences. 

(10 Pts.)  8.   Research and explain how the Greek Astronomer Aristarchus of Samos came up with

                      a method for calculating the distance of heavenly bodies more than 2,200 years ago. 

(15 Pts.)  9.   Create a 3-D model of the celestial sphere.  Refer to page 14 for support.  Be prepared

                      to explain how your model assists in finding the position of a star. 

(20 Pts.) 10. Research one of the ancient astronomical sites mentioned and build a scale model of it. 

                     Additional sites of interest include the Big Horn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming, Pyramid of

                     Khufu in Giza, Egypt, or the Anasazi Sun Dagger in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.  

                     Explain the significance of the site and demonstrate how the structures marked the path of     

                     the sun and moon. 

(20 Pts.)  11. Choose one or two interactive web sites on astronomy that relate to the

             concepts and create a web quest.  Be sure to give specific instructions as to how

             to maneuver through the web site and ask questions to check for student

             understanding.  Consider NASA (www.nasa.com), CNN (www.cnnfyi.com), 

             NSTA (www.scilinks.org), to explore. 

(20 Pts.) 12.  Design your own activity.  This must be reflective of the content in this

            curriculum and demonstrate thorough knowledge.  Must be worthy of 20

             pts. and be approved by the teacher.   Power point, model or experiment focusing

             on astronomy concepts are suggestions. 

(15 Pts.) 13.  Create a calendar using pages 24-25.  Be sure to follow all procedures and record


(20 Pts.) 14.  Create a galaxy like the Milky Way or Andromeda.  Be sure to illustrate how

                     gravity holds the galaxy clusters together.  Use page 15 for assistance.  You may

                     depict your galaxy as a three dimensional model or diagram. Be creative. 

(20 Pts.) 15.  Earth is overpopulated and running out of resources.  Create a planet that people

                      could inhabit.  Be sure to include gases, elements and physical characteristics that

                      would be needed to sustain life.   

Your browser may not support display of this image. 

(30 Pts.)      In an opinion paper give evidence to support your opinion about one of the

                    following questions: 


                1.  Given the current economic climate of the country, should the United States

                     continue to fund space exploration? 

                2.  Research current space programs (government).   Are these programs necessary

                     for our nation’s security?   


Assessment/Performance Grade 

Level C: Tasks ________, _________, __________, __________  = ___________points 

Level B:  Tasks ________, _________, __________ =     ____________points 

Level A:  Task  ________   =      ____________ points 


Total:  _______ out of _______possible points  Grade _________


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