Types of Stars Teacher Notes

This project teaches students about how astronomers classify stars and the link between atomic absorption lines and temperature. Students warm up by looking for similarities and differences in stellar spectra. Then, they classify stars using two different methods: by the strength of the H-alpha line (as the astronomers of the late 1800’s did) and by temperature. Then questions help students bridge the gap between line formation and temperature to understand the science that came from classifying stars.

  • Overview gives a description of the project, its target audience, and the concepts it teaches
  • Background gives scientific background about the project, including references, to help you answer student questions
  • Lesson Plan gives all the information you will need to teach this project in your classroom
  • Assessment gives ideas for evaluating student work
  • Standards links this project to national science, math, and technology standards.