Rainbows and Spectra : Teacher's Pages

Welcome to the teacher pages for Rainbows and Spectra. This project is a series of connected lessons that builds many of the skills needed to become astrophysicists in particular, and scientists in general. From kindergarten through twelfth grade, these activities simulate activities that astrophysicists actually do. Informative and interactive, the Light Project is designed to fit the needs of today's "meaning centered" science curriculum.

These pages provide an overview of the activities within the light project along with the California State Science Framework thematic, content, and process objectives that they meet. These activities were designed to meet mathematics and language arts objectives as well, though these are not mentioned. The suggested grade levels correspond to those suggested in the California State Science Framework. For the histogram activities there are also notes here that may help you present each activity to your class. The Light Tour and The Guest Observer Puzzle have more details for classroom use and procedures as they are more complicated to enact.

All of the activities here can be used as a single unit as each activity builds upon the earlier one. The activities can also be used independently of each other. They will work as independent study or as a class project. The beginning activities are written at a 3rd-4th grade level and the last activities are designed for high-school. This does not mean, however, that high-school students should skip the first activities, or that some bright fourth grader won't be able to do the high-school stuff. Which activities can be accomplished by your students is up to your own discretion.

Each activity is self explanatory and comes with all the necessary instructions to complete the activity. It may be helpful to read the instructions aloud with your class in order to clarify the procedure for each activity. It is recommended to go through the activities yourself before presenting this unit to your students. This will help you determine how best to present this unit to your class.

Level One: Graphing Colors

Level Two: Rainbows, Prisms, and Spectra

Level Three: Histograms of Spectra

Level Four: Star Types

Level Five: Stellar Spectroscopy


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