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2009 Year of Astronomy

Teaching and Learning Activities Matching the Year 7-10 NSW Syllabus

4.6.10 identify that all objects exert a force of gravity on all other objects in the universe.

Additional content: Forces - apply Newton's laws to Space travel

rocketLiftoff to Learning: Newton in Space
An excellent site from NASA with a 12 minute introductory video , followed by notes on each of the 3 Laws.
Scroll down for class experiments to illustrate the Laws.

rocketUnderstanding: Space Travel.
An imaginative lesson plan involving the idea of building cities in space and the considerations that will have to be made.
Includes a video clip and discussion questions.

rocketActivity - A Webquest on Space Travel
Find out about the conditions on a planet or star and what it would mean to live there.

4.9 describes the dynamic structure of the Earth and its relationship to other parts of our solar system and universe.

4.9.1 Newtonian model of the Solar System
a) describe qualitatively relative sizes, distances and movements of components of our solar system

telsecope and galaxySize Comparison of Astronomical Objects
Scale pictures, with notes, comparing the planets and others of star and galaxies helps to give an idea of the vast scale involved.
A series of the above scale pictures shown in order of size- wait for the end past the quote!(YouTube video)

telsecope and galaxySolar System calculator for building a scale model

(For fun
- calculate your weight on other planets )

telsecope and galaxyThe Size and Distance Scale of The Solar System
PowerPoint (6.2MB) containing data for actual comparisons, graphing, calculation of ratios, fractions etc.


telsecope and galaxyAn Overview of the Solar system
Good photos, plenty of information, but fairly dull.


b) describe relative movements of the planets, moons and sun

saturnClick under the graphic to show the Earth's tilt, spin, Moon motion and orbit.

saturnPlanets in Motion
A fact packed fast moving video covering all the basics(YouTube)

c) explain night and day in terms of Earth's rotation

planet orbitting sunAbout Day and Night
Well explained but rather verbose. More information elsewhere in the site, plus some classroom activities.


planet orbitting sunThe Long and the Short of it.
An activity to calculate the difference latitudemakes to length of a day around the World.

d) explain the seasons in terms of the tilt of Earth's axis and its revolution around the sun.

planet orbitting sunWindows to the Universe
Clear explanation about rotation, tilt and seasons.
Some relevant games via a button on the bottom line.

Additional Content:

saturnThe Night Sky
The stars we see in different seasons with the constellations superimposed

saturnSouthern Skywatch
See what there is to see tonight.
This site is kept up to date, and has local events in which to participate.

cometComet Prediction
Scroll down past the adverts to find the infromation

cometPredicting Eclipses
A scientific explanation, and using Stonehenge.

solar systemFormation of the Solar System
A clear explanation with diagrams

solar systemPlanetary Geology
Definition and explanation of planetary geology

solar systemAstrogeology Science Centre
A good source for a comparison exercise. Click on a planetary image in the chart to obtain information on each selected object.

sir isaac newtonHistory of Knowledge.
Good notes and photographs. Extensive links

4.9.2 Components of the universe
a) describe some major features of the universe, including galaxies, stars, nebulae and solar systems

solar systemThe New Planetarium
A mine of resources - information and animations

c) use appropriate scales to describe differences in sizes of, and distances between, structures making up the universe.

galaxySize Comparison of Astronomical Objects
Scale pictures, with notes, comparing the planets and others of star and galaxies helps to give an idea of the vast scale involved.

galaxyPower of Ten
A 9 minute video demonstrating scale and distance between the Solar System.(YouTube)

galaxySecret Worlds: The Universe Within
An animation, similar to 'Power of Ten' but with accompanying data.


Additional Content:

father and son looking at skyAboriginal Astronomy
A site developed by local astronomer Ray Norris for CSIRO

father and son looking at skyNorth America The story of the ant and the bear.


5.9 relates the development of the universe and the dynamic structure of the Earth to model, theories and laws and the influence of time.

5.9.3 Components of the Universe
describe some changes that are likely to take place during the life of a star.

galaxyLife of a Star
Definition of a star and its life cycle with good photos. Useful for a flow chart activity.

galaxy12 Billion Years in 6 Minutes
YouTube video

galaxyBe an Astrophysicist at NASA


Additional Content

galaxyAge of the Universe
Interesting historical details


Components of the Universe

Good general notes with no author that are from the Macquarie University astronomy website.(word doc)

swirling galaxyDetailed information from NASA

swirling galaxyArticle with clear explanations and good photos from 'Space Daily' - an online newsletter for enthusiasts.

swirling galaxyA coordination game
for the end of the day


looking throughtelescope at strayy skyFrequently asked questions about quasars Excellent notes, no illustrations - from Virginia Tech University


looking throughtelescope at strayy skyAnimation and audio signals from actual pulsars


cartoon rocket taking off from saturnThe definitive website on Voyager, notes and video - so how can it help?


cartoon rocket taking off from saturnDetails on the message carried by Voyager - a good starting point for discussion, and students could design their own message.


cartoon rocket taking off from saturnInformation on Voyager's progress.


space shuttleThe definitive Hubble Space Telescope site


space shuttleVideo using amazing HST photos (YouTube)

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