History

The 8" telescope with which Sir William Huggins first photographed the spectra of stars in 1866

Students will learn about spectra, their connection to atomic absorption and emission, and how astronomer Margaret Huggins contributed to early spectral photography.

Grade level(s): 
9-12
Prep time: 
15-20 minutes
In-class time: 
75 minutes
Edward Alexander Bouchet, ca. 1874

In this two-part lesson plan, students will learn about the debate between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois over African-American education in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and about the life of Edward Bouchet, the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in Physics in 1876.

Guide subjects: 
Grade level(s): 
9-12
Prep time: 
15-20 minutes
In-class time: 
70-75 minutes
James E. West, ASA President from 1998-1999.

Students will research the lives and work of some notable African American inventors, and then create an invention or patent of their own.

Guide subjects: 
Grade level(s): 
6-8
9-12
Prep time: 
15 minutes
In-class time: 
Two parts, 60-80 minutes each
Ripples caused by waves on a beach

Students will read a real paper that was submitted to the Royal Society by a woman in 1911, and will learn about the connection between science and the development of technology. 

Grade level(s): 
6-8
9-12
Prep time: 
10-15 minutes
In-class time: 
45-75 minutes
Big Dipper

Students will learn about geographic and equatorial coordinate systems and how slaves on the Underground Railroad used the stars to navigate their way to freedom.

Guide subjects: 
Grade level(s): 
9-12
Prep time: 
15 minutes
In-class time: 
40-50 minutes
Chien-Shiung Wu assembling an electro-static generator at Smith College Physics Laboratory.

Students will learn about the life and work of nuclear physicist Chien-Shiung Wu and explore the trend of scientists becoming public figures and activists.

Guide subjects: 
Grade level(s): 
9-12
College
Prep time: 
10-15 minutes
In-class time: 
50-65 minutes
Big Dipper

Students will learn about the Underground Railroad and how African Americans escaping slavery used the stars to navigate to freedom.

Guide subjects: 
Grade level(s): 
6-8
Prep time: 
10 minutes
In-class time: 
45-50 minutes

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