STARS AND BLACK HOLES
GRADE: 7 to 8
SUBJECT MATTER: Earth and Space Science, Astronomy
PREP FOR TEACHER
Review the methods in which astronomers use to view stars. Ask students if they can think of any other ways besides telescopes in which an astronomer might be able to locate heavenly bodies. What do they know about pulsars and black holes? Are they recent or old discoveries?
Ask students what they would do if they thought they were receiving messages from extra-terrestrial life forms. How would you feel? Would you need evidence before you told anyone? Who would you tell?
transcript of Jocelyn Bell's 1977 speech:
Listen to pulsars here:
Female Nobel Prize Laureates:
in Science and Medicine:
years of women in science
Picture of SETI radio observatory:
Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, to give students a specific responsibility while viewing they will be asked to fill out a worksheet which emphasizes several important points in the film.
START the video at the beginning of the segment, “Blips, Black Holes and the Nobel Prize.”
PAUSE after the discussion about radio astronomy vs. astronomy Check for understanding and have students answer the worksheet questions
CONTINUE until after the description about observation and questioning. Predict what the blips could mean or be. What else emits radio waves?
CONTINUE and PAUSE after the second blip is found. Discuss why this event rules out little green men. Why do scientists look for evidence?
PLAY and PAUSE after Bell explains how she ruled out the possibility that the signals were being transmitted by extra-terrestrial life. Discuss how she analyzed the data she collected to come to such a conclusion.
PLAY and PAUSE after the section on black holes. Ask the students if they think there are black holes. Discuss some of the theories behind black holes.
PLAY the video until the end. Ask students if they thought Jocelyn Bell deserved to share the Nobel Peace Prize with her professor. Discuss the historical role of women in science. Give students time to complete their worksheets by using information from the video, the library, books and the Internet.
POST VIEWING ACTIVITIES
Divide the students into groups. Ask each group to search the Internet for a different topic related to the video.
Some suggestions are: pulsars, radio waves, black holes, neutron star, and female scientists.
Each group member will be expected to find a different website relating to their topic and write a brief description of the website. The whole group will make a topic information sheet containing discoveries from the websites and descriptions of the websites to give to all the students.
be assessed on the completeness of their topic sheet, and their worksheet.
For additional lesson plans and ideas relating to this topic and many others try TeacherSource at PBS Online! You will find activities, lesson plans, teacher guides and links to other great educational web sites! Search the database by keyword, grade level or subject area! Mathline and Scienceline are also great resources for teachers seeking teaching tips, lesson plans, assessment methods, professional development, and much more!
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