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The Hidden Lives of Galaxies - Dark Matter Possibilities

Activity #7
Dark Matter Possibilities

In this activity, you will research one of the topics related to the possible sources of dark matter.

As you research your topic, answer the following questions:

  1. What are the objects that could be included into this category?
  2. What are the characteristics of these object(s)? Specifically:
    1. Where are these objects found in space?
    2. What is their approximate size per particle or object?
    3. How are these objects formed? Do they appear together or separately in space?
    4. Are these objects found in conjunction with other astronomical objects (e.g. stars, galaxies, or nebulae)?
  3. How could these objects be thought to contribute to dark matter?
  4. What tools are required to detect these objects by astronomers or physicists?

Here are some suggested resources for investigating your topic:

Next you will present your findings to the class. Here are some suggested ways to present your results:

  • Imagine that your group is to give a press conference about your newly discovered object(s), explaining what this is and how it may be a source for dark matter. Prepare your 5-minute presentation for the press, covering the information you discovered in answering the questions. Select one person to be the news anchor, one person to be the science reported asking the questions, and one or two people to be the astronomers answering the questions. Dress your part! Act your part! (There may be a Nobel Prize in this for you!) Help the public understand your new findings. Create props, as needed.

  • Imagine that you are a pop musician asked to produce a new CD for high school students that teaches about the subject of dark matter. This is a little different from your regular music, but you are willing to give it a try because you want to help students become excited about exploring space. In your group, write and perform a song or rap to teach about dark matter and the different possibilities for it. Give details about the topic that your group explored in your research. Perform this for the class, using props, backup music, and costumes, as needed. Remember, you want your audience informed and excited about dark matter!

  • Imagine that your group has been asked to create a game for high school students that will teach them about dark matter and, specifically, about the topic you researched. You and this game are to be featured in the local newspaper, as everyone in the community has heard how creative you are. You may create a card game, board game, or physical game (e.g. tag, relay race) that will teach your material to the participants. When you are done, name your game and teach it to the class.

  • Imagine that your group has been contacted by a local theater company, specializing in interpretive drama. They have run out of fresh material and have just learned that you have discovered new information about something exotic called "dark matter." Naturally they think that this would make an excellent subject for a new play and they want you to help them write and perform it. Your job is to write a short play that explains your information in a creative way. Create costumes and find props that can help your play become more dramatic. Remember, if your audience isn't entertained, they won't learn as much! (There may be an Academy Award in this for you!)


A service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/GSFC

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