Lunar and Planetary Institute

Education and Public Outreach

Stars and Galaxies Resources


Education Activities on Stars and Galaxies at LPI

Cosmic Survey
One tool for assessing your classes’ prior knowledge

Stellarium is planetarium software that shows exactly what you see when you look up at the stars. It's easy to use, and free.

Active Astronomy
The activities in "Active Astronomy: Classroom Activities for Learning about Infrared Light" focus on improving student understanding of infrared light, which occupies the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum between visible light and microwaves, the shortest of the radio waves.

TERC Astrobiology: What Types of Stars Are in Our Universe?
(Chapter 2 - Worlds in Our Universe, Activity 3) Students produce an Hertzsprung-Russell diagram of 100 stars to study color, temperature, and age relationships between stars as well as their frequency in stellar populations.  

Where is M13?
This free downloadable application helps you visualize the locations and physical properties of deep sky objects in and around the Galaxy.  It works well in conjunction with an activity about our Milky Way.

Build a Doppler Buzzer Ball
This site provides some background information about the Doppler effect and directions on building a Doppler Buzzer Ball.

Classifying Galaxies Activity at Imagine the Universe
Students explore the idea of classifying objects. They start by giving examples of objects that can be classified in everyday life and in science. They then characterize and classify a set of galaxies using their own scheme, and using Hubble's classification scheme.

How Fast Do Galaxies Move?
By examining the spectrum of light from a galaxy, students determine whether the galaxy is moving towards or away from Earth, and how fast.

Where is the center of the Universe?
Online activity to model the Universe.

The Mysteries of Deep Space Timeline  
This interactive timeline allows you to learn about this history of the Universe.  There are high school-level activities as well.

Modeling the Universe Activities
This site lists a portfolio of downloadable resources for the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics’ Modeling the Universe workshop.

Movies and Animations Using the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram

Astronomy Simulations and Animations
A compilation of various online programs on astronomical topics.  This site includes calculators and simulators for stellar velocity, luminosity, parallax, the HR diagram, eclipsing binaries, the Milky Way rotation, and more.


Diffraction Grating Glasses/3-D Glasses

UV Beads

Color Filters
The colors that we use are #74 (Night Blue), #90 (Dark Yellow Green), and #27 (Medium Red).

Websites — Information and Curriculum

Cosmic Times
Cosmic Times is a series of curriculum support materials that trace the history of our understanding of the universe during the past 100 years, from Einstein's formulation of gravity to the discovery of dark energy. It consists of 6 posters, and each poster is accompanied by 4-5 classroom lessons ranging from middle- to high-school and including at least on multi-disciplinary lesson.

Imagine the Universe
A learning center for the young astronomer that presents space information for middle school to high school students, including podcasts and multi-media, student activities, graphics, and a dictionary.

World Book at NASA: Galaxies
A detailed article with background information about galaxies.

Stellar Evolution
This site by the Chandra X-ray Observatory has detailed background information, and an interactive guide.

NASA's Space Science Resource Directory
A useful tool for locating NASA Solar System resources, for particular grade levels or resource types.

Windows to the Universe—The Universe
This site launches you into a variety of astronomy topics and activities on all levels. The site is user friendly and includes Spanish translations.

American Museum of Natural History’s Astronomy magazine
For children ages 10–13, this Web site allows viewers to meet people who study astronomy and learn all about our Sun, the Milky Way Galaxy, and the universe. Hands-on activities and games are included.


NASA's Central Operation of Resources (CORE) offers a complete list of Solar System resources for educators, including a variety of information, activities, and tools to spark children's investigation. Resources are available as videos, CDs, and other products.

Private Universe Project in Science, 1995, The Annenberg Foundation & Corporation for Public Broadcasting, ISBN 1-57680-370-8
This video workshop for educators explores alternative ways of teaching science concepts, and examines misconceptions common to students of all ages. Order on line or call 1-800-LEARNER.