ISTAT Banner

Stellar Life Cycles

Each activity or resource is labeled by access mode:

Requires computer access
Requires downloading from the Web
$$ Order materials and supplies
Main Topics & Concepts
  • Many of the stellar types identified are really similar stars at different points in their evolution.
  • Stars evolve over billions of years, but new stars are constantly being "born" , so there are always stars of all "ages".
  • The mass of a star determines a great deal about its temperature and life span
  • Different types of stars reach different end states after burning up their fusion fuel.
This topic applies to California state standards 2d in 9th grade Earth Science and standard 4b in 8th grade Physical Science. 

Science Probe Text
Science Probe I § 16.1 The Life of a Star,15.5 Quasars, Pulsars, and Black Holes.

Activities & Lessons
Activity Access Description
Life Cycle of Stars


webpaper Study information about the appearance of stars at different stages to make a sequence of pictures analogous to pictures of a human life cycle. Some broken links, esp. to Brian Martin's Lectures:
The Anatomy of Black Holes

Imagine the Universe
web A grade 9-12 teaching guide with expository material on stellar and galactic black holes, and a number of related activities. Many activities are math-based.
How Old are the Jewels of the Night?

National Optical Astronomy Observatory

webpaper Students make an H-R diagram of stars in a cluster, and then learn about stages in the lives of stars. Requires printing an image on a color printer

Life Cycles of Stars Information/Activity book



NASA/Imagine the Universe!

webpaper Use online or download PDF. Activities are brief and math based. Students will need some of the informational sections of the booklet to do each one.

Hey Low Mass Star, This is Your Life! Making a physical model of the life stages of a star.

Bigger Than a Bread Box? The sizes of supernova remnants.

A Teaspoon of Star Stuff The densities of different stellar end states.

Crossing the Event Horizon Where is the edge of a black hole?

Others referred in other parts of this curriculum.

*Astronomical Society of the Pacific Ordering info $$

Resources Access Description
A Peek Into the Lives of Stars

Windows on the Universe

web A sequence of short pages, with some interactive features. Many subjects on the life cycles of stars, end states and star color, temperature, and mass.