Classroom Activities, Lesson Plans, & Resources
LETTER TO EDUCATORS
The mission of EXIST is to use art as a vehicle to learn about astronomy, and to use creative ways to teach and inspire students of all ages. The PI of the EXIST project, Stephanie Cortes, is a college-level astronomy professor and she has been teaching science for over a decade, including both youth & adult programs, frequently with a focus to inspire young women to stay interested in science. You can read about her unique path here (https://www.existlife.me/blog/2018/5/8/from-astronomer-to-circus-artist-exist-was-born), and more about the EXIST project here (existlife.me). I’d love your help in educating and inspiring the communities that you already teach. Being an educator is an important role. I know how difficult it can be at times, but with each passing semester, I am reminded of the immense reward of inspiring even just one student. We have the power to leave a long-lasting, positive impact on someone’s life. I am asking you to consider using EXIST as a vehicle to teach your students about where we came from, how we are all connected to the lives of stars, and inspire them look up at the night sky and question our place in the universe.
Please reach out and let us know how we can support you in your teaching endeavors.
Stephanie Cortes, on behalf of the EXIST Team
Kindergarten – 5th
Going to Extremes: After reading aloud a text on life in extreme environments, students will discuss what life is and the requirements of life. Groups of students will conduct an experiment of their choosing on chia seeds to explore how extreme environments affect the growth of the plant.
9th – 12th
Stellar Evolution-Our Cosmic Connection: In this activity, students use multiwavelength images of stars in different stages of evolution to investigate how the initial masses of the protostars determines their evolutionary paths.
7th – 12th
Stellar Life: Students are guided through the stages of a star's life using interactive reading, acting out skits, classroom games, and creating their own children's comics. By the end of this lesson, all of your students will be able to determine the course of a star's life knowing it's size.
9th – 12th+
Star-forming Nebula NGC 3603 lithograph: This Hubble Space Telescope image captures thousands of sparkling young stars nestled within the star-forming nebula NGC 3603. This stellar "jewel box" is one of the most massive young star clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy. Use the “Star-forming Nebula NGC 3603” lithograph as the initial source of information to engage your students in a Level One Inquiry Activity. Students will use the images and text on this lithograph to generate questions about how stars change over time. They will conduct research to answer their questions. This curriculum support tool is designed to be used as an introductory activity in a unit that incorporates scientific inquiry or that has a stellar evolution theme.
Math Toolkit for Astronomy - A short resource for the mathematical concepts needed for basic college-level astronomy.