Lessons in this Chapter:

26.1 Stars

26.2 Galaxies

26.3 The Universe


Once again, there are several interesting NOVA episodes that go well with this chapter. If you want something more active to try, look for some resources on star gazing under the Extension Ideas tab.

If you are finishing up this class and have a few weeks left in your year, or if you are looking for something fun and educational to do over the summer, we highly recommend watching the Cosmos series with Neil Degrasse Tyson. There are several links for more information and lesson plans under the Cosmos tab below.


Plethora Activity Sheets

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Extension Ideas

If your child enjoyed the astronomy lessons, you could easily extend this into a full summer of educational fun. Watch an episode of Cosmos twice a week and spend some evenings star gazing. Here are some resources to get you started:

Family Fun with Sky Watching

Summer Stargazing

Kids Astronomy

How to Plan an Out-of-this-World Stargazing Adventure

I would strongly warn against getting a cheap telescope; they are usually more frustrating than useful. Ask around to see if any of your friends have a good one, or look to see if there is an astronomical society in your town. They are often very willing to help out a curious student. If you do want to invest in one, this is a highly recommended model to get started with:

Cosmos Resources

The new series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is an amazing documentary series led by Neil Degrasse Tyson. It covers a wide range of topics including astrophysics, astronomy, and the history of science. Some very complicated topics are covered, but all in a very accessible way. It is a remake of the series that Carl Sagan did in 1980, which is also excellent. Here are the DVDs:

Or the older version with Carl Sagan.

You can find these at your local library or on several different streaming services.

Here’s the official NatGeo Cosmos website, which includes a lot of additional content, including more information about Neil Degrasse Tyson.

If you want to extend this to a whole unit study, here are lesson plans for each episode:

Episode 1  Episode 2  Episode 3  Episode 4  Episode 5  Episode 6  Episode 7  Episode 8

Episode 9  Episode 10  Episode 11  Episode 12  Episode 13



Monster of the Milky Way

Origins: Back to the Beginning

Hunting the Edge of Space, Pt. 1

Hunting the Edge of Space, Pt. 2

Invisible Universe Revealed

If you really want to geek out with your budding astrophysicist, there are two NOVA series you’ll want to check out:

The Elegant Universe

The Fabric of the Cosmos


For a fun family movie night, try Interstellar.

Here are some resources for discussing the science behind the movie:

The Science of Interstellar Explained (Infographic)

Neil Degrasse Tyson Separates Fact from Fiction in ‘Interstellar’ – an NPR story

And here’s a video interview of Neil discussing the movie: