33 Labs in Astronomy

Oreo Moon Phases
Use this activity to enhance the understanding of the Moon's phases. Oreo cookies provide the information!

Sun's Path
I tried doing this lab in a more open-ended, inquiry-based format. It may or may not succeed. Modify if you want to.

The Ellipse
Students draw and analyze two ellipses: Calculation of eccentricity; Understanding of range and significance of eccentricity; Compare eccentricities of drawn ellipses to planetary orbit eccentricities; Challenge component.

Seasons And Sunpath
In this lab, you will use a plastic hemisphere to represent the dome of the sky. You will need to imagine that you are at the center of the base of the dome. The border around your globe, where it touches the table is your horizon.

HR Diagram Lab
This is a fairly advanced usage of excels graphing wizard. If students are unfamiliar with it I would do another introductory data entry exercise first.

Calculate Planetary Diameter Using A Safety (Safe-T) Compass
An older lab where students calculate the equatorial diameters of the nine planets using mathematical ratios then plot them using a safety compass.

Ellipses
The earth revolves around the sun in an orbit which is a special geometric figure called an ellipse. An ellipse has two "center points". Each one is called a focus. The Sun is not in the exact middle of the earth's orbit.

Shadow Lab
The attached Shadow Lab works well for a 40 minute class period. On the Shadow Lab Report Sheet, you will need to draw a sun path for each diagram and label the five positions.

Walking Model Of The Solar System
Attached is a lab in which a scale model (both in terms of distance between the planets and size of the planets) of the Solar System is made in the school's halls.

Angle Of Insolation
Design and discover the reason for the seasons!

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