Our Universe
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Our Universe
Using a variety of online resources, students can look at the development of models and theories that have lead to our current understanding of the universe. PFA 5.1: a student explains how social factors influence the development and acceptance of scientific ideas.
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4 The Universe Aristotle and Ptolemy

This is the property of the History Channel
Kat Walker's insight:

This Youtube clip from the history channel provides a brief over view of how the Ancient Greeks developed their ideas of the concept of the universe. This clip provides images and a brief explanation of the course of this ideological development. This clip would be ideal for an introductory session to historical visions of the shape and nature of the universe and the place of our solar system within it. The clip introduces some new terms to students, and because of its short length, it can be viewed more than once in a class if needed. Through using this clip, students can be introduced to the development and progression of ideas, the advanced state of Greek philosophy and how political moments in history can contribute of scientific development. After viewing this clip, students could complete tasks based around the new terms and individuals they have encountered, summarise the information presented in the clip or use this clip as a starting point of an individual research task on historical models of our universe. This clip is ideal for the beginning of a Science as a Human Endeavour based unit as it briefly touches on the science, the individuals involved and the circumstances surrounding the development of these ideas.

 

I selected this resource as it provides a simple overview of what can be a very dense topic. The majority of written works about Aristotle’s Universe contain detailed mathematical formulas and diagrams about epicycles. The text on these other sites is also very dense and hard to get through. By using a clip with different interviews, small animations and simple explanations, this topic and concept becomes far more accessible to students. There is not much prior knowledge required of students by this clip, and for older classes, only the few new terms could limiting.

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Mysteries of Deep Space - History of the Universe Timeline

Kat Walker's insight:

Despite this site being another timeline, this simple image site explores the creation and aging of our universe and how we view it. Each point on the timeline is clickable and has a short, simple summary of that point in history.

 

Each summary varies in the detail in which it goes into. However, they do explain any new or complicated terminology which is presented in the interactive timeline.

 

Despite the great information which the timeline has, its presentation is not ideal. Larger screens are required to see the timeline as a whole without needed to scroll across it. The text and the background on which it is presented are not ideal either. However, this site could also be used to analyse the effective presentation of information as well as an example of the variety of information accessible through the internet. This ties into some Communicating and Processing and Analysing Data and Information syllabus points.

 

Through this timeline, students can also access information about the technological developments that have led to our current understanding of the universe. Asking students to compile their own glossary of new terms and acronyms provides a way of informally checking their understanding and comprehension at this stage of the unit, as well as engaging in a literacy based activity.

 

Overall, I believe this site is a good summary of information that has not been presented in the best way possible.

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Murmer of a Bang

Murmer of a Bang | Our Universe | Scoop.it
This site is intended for students age 14 and up, and for anyone interested in learning about our universe.
Kat Walker's insight:

This NASA produced site provides students with an example of a historical article about the development of our current understanding. This text builds on the knowledge that students would have developed in the early parts of this unit and engages students in a historical discovery.

 

As this page is text heavy, a literacy based activity would be a great was to assess students’ comprehension of the text. Students could produce a role play from the article, write a summary of the discovery or use this article as a sample of how to write a newspaper article before producing their own article on another key development in our understanding of the universe.

 

Breaking the text up into a jigsaw style activity would lessen the reading load placed on each student. Depending on the class and the ESL background of students, different literacy activities could be used such as a glossary activity, commentary article, definition mix-and-match or a letter to the editor from another scientist.

 

The article does provide a lot of explanation and background information for students and is presented in a more appealing format than the Historical Development Timeline. This site could also be used to analyse information sources and the presentation of information.

 

This site requires students to engage with the text in order to develop their own understanding. With references to different radiation wavelengths and types of radiation, students are required to incorporate their understanding of previous topics with their current work.

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Historical development of models of the Universe

This is a timeline about the historical development of model of the Universe from 1000BC to today.
Kat Walker's insight:

This site provides students with a timeline showing the gradual development of models of the universe, from 1000 BC to today. The site shows an interactive timeline with 11 events which students can scroll through.

 

One downside to this site is the very limited and abbreviated information at each point. However, as an overview of the development of a model, it allows for students to cover the basis and then research more on their own. As one progresses through the different models, some of the commentary becomes more complex. This topic is targeted at year 9 or 10 students and by creating a literary based task for this site, these problems could be addressed within the lesson.

 

Background mathematical knowledge would also be useful for some of the commentary. Problems arising from this could again be addressed with a simple worksheet or group activity to identify any problematic words and the shapes/mathematical laws that they relate to. Through creating their own interpretation of the summarised information, it becomes simpler to check student comprehension and understanding of the topic.

 

This timeline, like the History Channel Video Clip, is a great basis for a Science as a Human Endeavour unit or small topic. This site provides a simple basis for the development of a model with 11 key individuals. One way to use this site would be to assess the contributions of the individuals and have students research and present their own timeline with 5 key figures and a justification as to why those 5 are the most important.

 

One key benefit to this site is the use of the interactive time line at the base of the page. It allows students to visualise the period of time over which these events took place and also comprehend the rapid development of ideas after the 16th century.

 

Overall, I believe this site is a great basis for a SHE topic and provides students with both simple information in an interactive format and the concept of idea development through the ages.

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2011 Nobel Prize: Dark Energy feat. Sean Carroll

Guest narrator Sean Carroll of Caltech describes dark energy and the acceleration of the universe, the discovery of which was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in...
Kat Walker's insight:

 

This clip from minutephysics explains, briefly, the concept of dark energy and the expanding universe. This video would be ideal for a year 10 class (or older). They use simple language and exclude fancy terminology which allows for greater understanding without the confusion of new terminology.

 

Ideally, this clip could be presented as the last component of the topic on the universe. It allows students to engage with the latest research in a simple matter and with a far more recent discovery.

 

The use of concurrent cartoons and narrative allows to viewer to follow what is being said through the drawings. Humour is also used to illustrate certain points, re-engaging the viewer with the video. As the resource contains a large amount of information, but is only approx. 1 min long, it would be easy to replay within class.

 

I believe the best way to present this in a class would be in three stages. The first time around, students would watch the clip without taking notes. As a class, students would then nominate key ideas or moments that they took away from the clip. On the second viewing, students would be encouraged to write down new terms which they over heard and did not quite understand or concepts which they were still confused about. Another class discussion would allow students to consolidate what they do understand with what information it still confusing. The third viewing would be to allow students to see if they can produce their own definitions for these new terms or increase their understanding of the concept. After these viewings and discussion, students would be required to link the concepts from the video back to other ideas that they have covered in the topic.

 

I believe that this clip is very engaging and would be a great way for students to finalise or finish this topic on the universe.

 

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