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The Life Cycles of Stars is an online book from StarChild, a Web site of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. This informative booklet is appropriate for ages 5–13. Replete with activity sheets that reinforce basic facts about star life cycles, this is a rich resource for teachers and learners alike. An astronomy dictionary, as well as links to several other sites, are useful additions.

For ages 15–18, the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center offers a higher-level version of The Life Cycles of Stars. This 22-page online book chronicles in detail the life journeys of different types of stars. What the text lacks in imagery it makes up for in interesting and challenging activities; clear, straightforward explanations; a helpful glossary of terms; and a list of resources. For further information on various stages of the life cycle of stars, visit Imagine the Universe!

The Natures of the Stars for the amateur astronomer, Jim Kaler, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy at The University of Illinois, offers a galaxy of information on the nature of the stars in brief, one-paragraph synopses replete with links to additional information. Dr. Kaler also imparts basic presentation about the spectral analysis of stars as the principal means used by scientists to examine their lives and properties. These are useful sites for young adults, astronomy students, and general adult audiences.

Presented on three reading levels and in a user-friendly format, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research’s Windows to the Universe site presents Stars, a rich array of images, animations, datasets, information pages, and activities related to stars and star life cycles for the general public, teachers, and students of all ages.

StarChild:  A Learning Center for Young Astronomers, offers a treasure chest of stellar resources for both educators and children ages 5 and up. Among this wealth of resources are online books detailing the life cycles of stars (offered on three learning levels); more than 20 experiments, activities, and worksheets (great for reinforcement of terms and concepts); FAQs on stars; glossaries; cool facts; downloadable posters; a star life movie; and a list of related links, resources, and lesson plans.

Enchanted Learning’s excellent Zoom Astronomy site offers a well-organized overview on stars including their life cycles, types of stars, which ones are brightest and closest, and much more. Children ages 10–15 will find easy-to-read, interesting content, first-rate illustrations and animations, and a myriad of links to more in-depth explanations of terms. Enchanted Learning also provides a great site on how our Sun and planets formed.

NASA’s Observatorium offers a host of information on stellar life cycles for ages 14 and up. From this site, viewers may access cutting-edge information on the birth and death of stars, accompanied by exemplary Hubble images and links to explanations of stellar terms. Stars:  An Introduction provides additional information, images, discussion questions, and teacher guides.

Life Cycle of Stars, from the Center for Educational Resources Project (CERES) at Montana State University, offers a site for educators that includes an interesting lesson plan for high school students correlating pictures of humans from youngest to oldest with images of star life stages.

High-school educators can find a detailed lesson plan for a group report on star formation at the Discovery Channel’s Discovery Schoolsite. A crossword of the cosmos, including several star terms, is provided as a complement to the lesson at.  A teacher’s key for the crossword puzzle is also available at . Also offered in Spanish.

The FAQ section of NASA’s Astronomical Search for Origins program offers ages 12–16 a relatively brief but clear explanation of how stars form.

Other Products

Where Do Stars Come From? And Where Do They Go? is a free downloadable poster from the Space Telescope Science Institute showing the birth, evolution, and death of small and large mass stars for ages 12 and up.

Hubble:  The Stars Chart is a poster with awe-inspiring graphics of Hubble Space Telescope images of stars in several life cycle stages, with explanations accompanying each of the images.



Last updated
January 10, 2007