Beacon Lesson Plan Library

My Life as a Star!

Robert Rosen

Description

Students analyze the life cycle of a star, and creatively prepare a presention a star's life cycle.

Objectives

The student selects and uses appropriate listening strategies according to the intended purpose (such as solving problems, interpreting and evaluating the techniques and intent of a presentation, and taking action in career-related situations).

The student knows that the stages in the development of three categories of stars are based on mass: stars that have the approximate mass of our Sun, stars that are two- to three-stellar masses and develop into neutron stars, and stars that are

Analyzes the managerial skills necessary for decision making in different work related situations.

Creates potential solutions to industry problems using math and/or scientific concepts and communicates solution using industry appropriate language arts and graphic skills.

Demonstrates the ability to cooperatively work in various settings, across diverse populations.

Materials

-Markers
-Paints
-Crayons
-Colored pencils
-Scissors
-Poster board
-Paper
-Glue

Preparations

1. Class discussions of types of stars and star research.

2. Class discussions of our sun and the process of fusion within it.

3. Class discussions of the life cycles of stars and how these cycles have been determined.

4. Allow students to read about how stars evolve. Astronomy texts contain a lot of detailed information on stellar evolution. A good earth science textbook is an appropriate source for most classes.

Procedures

1. Divide students into groups of two or three.

2. Assign one type of star to each group of students: a star smaller than our sun, a star about as massive as the sun, a star with a mass of about 3 solar masses, or a star with a mass of about 6 solar masses.

3. Explain that students will research and present the life cycle of their star in a creative way. An artistic student might be encouraged to produce a comic strip that depicts the stages in their starís life or produce a sequence puzzle that another student could use to learn about the life cycle of a star. A creative writer might want to chronicle their starís life using a metaphor; e.g., the four seasons compared to a personís life stages).

4. Explain that the studentís product will be judged based on the accuracy of its content and its creativity. A rubric (see attached file) may be used to assess their project.

5. Allow students an opportunity to do class research using Internet, media resources, etc.

6. Structure a class discussion to clear up any misunderstandings; assign additional readings where necessary. The remainder of the project may be assigned for homework.

7. Allow groups to present their completed products. Be sure that at least one example of each of the three star sizes is included in the presentations.

Assessments

Student presentations may be assessed by a rubric (see attached file).

The following test questions may be used to assess student understanding of this material.

1. The cycle of a star is determined by:
a. the color
b. the distance
c. the mass
d. the shape

(answer c. The mass dictates the evolution of a stellar object)


2. Very large stars; e.g., stars 6 times bigger than our Sun, may complete their cycle as:
a. a red giant
b. a neutron star
c. a pulsar
d. a black hole

(answer d. Very large stars complete their cycle as a black hole)

3 Stars only slightly bigger than our sun; e.g.,2 times bigger, may end their cycle as:
a. a red giant
b. a neutron star
c. a pulsar
d. a black hole

(answer b. Stars only slightly bigger than the Sun end their cycle as a neutron star)

A short outline of each star's life cycle is given below. Use this resource, along with the information in the assigned reading, to judge the completeness and accuracy of the student's work.

MASS OF STAR= MASS OF SUN
Nebula
-protostar
-fusion of hydrogen begins
Main Sequence Star
-heat from fusion of hydrogen causes pressure that balances attraction due to gravity

Giant
-hydrogen fuel in core is exhausted
-core contracts and becomes hot
-heat from core causes outer layers of the star to expand
-the outer layers cool as a result of the expansion
-material from the outer layers of the star begins to escape into space
-helium fusion in the core is used to generate the starís energy

White Dwarf
-the core becomes hotter as elements heavier than helium are used as fuel
-material from the outer layers of the star escapes into space
-a hot, dense core is left

Dark Dwarf
-the starís fuel runs out
-the star cools and grows dim



MASS OF STAR= 3 SOLAR MASSES
Nebula
-protostar
-fusion of hydrogen begins

Main Sequence Star
-heat from fusion of hydrogen causes pressure that balances attraction due to
gravity

Giant
-hydrogen fuel in core is exhausted
-core contracts and becomes hot
-heat from core causes outer layers of the star to expand
-the outer layers cool as a result of the expansion
-material from the outer layers of the star begins to escape into space
-helium fusion in the core is used to generate the starís energy

Super Giant
-heavier and heavier elements are used as fuel in the core
-the core becomes very hot
-heat from the core causes the outer layers of the star to expand to a very large size

Supernova
-iron is formed in the core
-no more energy-producing fusion reactions are possible because the fusion of elements heavier than iron does not release energy (the process consumes
energy)
-the star suddenly collapses because energy (that causes pressure that counteracts gravity) is no longer produced
-a shock wave from the collapse causes outer layers of the star to explode

Neutron Star
-the remaining core shrinks
-the core is so dense that only neutrons can exist in the core



MASS OF STAR= 6 SOLAR MASSES
Nebula
-protostar
-fusion of hydrogen begins

Main Sequence Star
-heat from fusion of hydrogen causes pressure that balances attraction due to gravity

Giant
-hydrogen fuel in core is exhausted
-core contracts and becomes hot
-heat from core causes outer layers of the star to expand
-the outer layers cool as a result of the expansion
-material from the outer layers of the star begins to escape into space
-helium fusion in the core is used to generate the starís energy

Super Giant
-heavier and heavier elements are used as fuel in the core
-the core becomes very hot
-heat from the core causes the outer layers of the star to expand to a very large size

Supernova
-iron is formed in the core
-no more energy-producing fusion reactions are possible because the fusion of elements heavier than iron does not release energy (the process consumes energy)
-the star suddenly collapses because energy (that causes pressure that counteracts gravity) is no longer produced
-a shock wave from the collapse causes outer layers of the star to explode

Black Hole
-the remaining core shrinks
-the core is so dense that the gravitational force causes the core to continue shrinking
-gravity close to the black hole is so strong that nothing can escape its pull, not even light

Note: Circulate and formatively assess students as they use the technology tools. Provide assistance for students who are experiencing difficulty and monitor accordingly.

Extensions

The students will:
-know that variation in stars exist
-know that different types of stars begin and end differently, and that the cycle is predictable
-understand\that the mass determines the cycle of a star, and that black holes and neutron stars are the end results of a stars cycle.
-know that our Sun is a star whose life cycle may be determined
-demonstrate, through discussion or diagram, the evolution of a star

Enhancement:
Pose the following questions:
-When the universe was young, it contained only hydrogen and helium. All elements heavier than helium were produced by the fusion reactions that take place in the core of stars. What does this imply about the earth and living things on it?
-What aspect of stellar evolution did you find most interesting? Why?

Attached Files

A rubric for assessing the activity.†††††File Extension: pdf

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