Cosmic Times

Workshop Presentations

Listed below are workshops and presentations that we have given on Cosmic Times. Each has a number of accompanying lesson plans that were used to demonstrate how to use Cosmci Times in an educational environment. Use these as inspiration!

Note: PowerPoint presentations were created on a Mac. Some editing may need to be done when used on a PC.

Cosmology in the High School Classroom? Are you crazy?

image of the first slide of the presentation

Abstract: Students are curious about the Universe, including topics such as the Big Bang, dark energy and the expanding Universe. Cosmic Times is a suite of curriculum support materials that makes these cosmology topics attainable to high school students by focusing on the process of science using "historic" front-page newspapers. Student readings trace our understanding of the nature of the Universe over the past 100 years from the first confirmation of Einstein's theory of gravity through the discovery and confirmation of dark energy. Each newspaper has 4-5 associated inquiry-based lessons to help students gain a firm understanding of the presented material. In addition, the articles for each newspaper come in differentiated reading levels for 7-8 grade, 9-10 grade and 11-12 grade readers. Each poster is accompanied by inquiry-based lessons that teach the science, the process of science, and skills for science literacy. In addition, lessons include cross-curricular activities that explore the times and social circumstances of the discoveries. In this workshop, we will trace the historical developments and engage in sample lessons.

Last presented at National Science Teachers Association meeting in Boston, 2014

  • Download presentation: PowerPoint, PDF
  • Support materials:
    • Expanding universe video clip (from Beyond the Solar System DVD, produced for NASA by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics): mov
  • This presentation featured the following Cosmic Times lessons:
    • Reading Strategies: doc, pdf
    • Evidence is Clear: doc, pdf
    • Things Are Not What They Seem (come-back can demo): doc, pdf
    • Century Timeline: doc, pdf
      • Appendix A: Key Cosmic Times Events: doc, pdf
      • Appendix B: Science, Cultural, World Events: doc, pdf
    • Cosmic Times 2019: doc, pdf

Extra! Extra! Read All About the Universe!

image of the first slide of the presentation

Abstract: One hundred years ago, astronomers thought the Universe was infinite, ageless, and static. Today, astronomers think the Universe is finite, mortal, and expanding. Cosmic Times reveals how our understanding has evolved using a series of front-page newspapers from key times over the past century. The story involves determining distances in the Universe, understanding supernovae, and comprehending the Universe's expansion. This interactive workshop explores on of these themes through hands-on classroom activities.

Last presented at Celebration of Teaching and Learning in Washington DC, 2014

  • Download presentation: PowerPoint, PDF
  • Support materials:
    • Expanding universe video clip (from Beyond the Solar System DVD, produced for NASA by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics): mov
  • This presentation featured the following Cosmic Times lessons:
    • Reading Strategies: doc, pdf
    • Evidence is Clear: doc, pdf
    • Things Are Not What They Seem (come-back can demo): doc, pdf
    • Century Timeline: doc, pdf
      • Appendix A: Key Cosmic Times Events: doc, pdf
      • Appendix B: Science, Cultural, World Events: doc, pdf
    • Cosmic Times 2019: doc, pdf

Extra! Extra! Read All About the Universe! (first version)

image of the first slide of the presentation

Abstract: One hundred years ago, astronomers thought the Universe was infinite, ageless, and static. Today, astronomers think the Universe is finite, mortal, and expanding. Cosmic Times reveals how our understanding has changed using a series of front page newspapers from key times over the past century. The story involves determining distances in the Universe, understanding supernovae, and comprehending the Universe's expansion. This interactive workshop explores one of these themes through hands-on classroom activities.

Last presented at a JHU Space Grant workshop in Baltimore, MD, 2013

  • Download presentation: PowerPoint, PDF
  • Support materials:
    • Expanding universe video clip (from Beyond the Solar System DVD, produced for NASA by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics): mov
    • From the Inside Out (student Universe Mash-up project): mov
  • This presentation featured the following Cosmic Times lessons:
    • Gallery Walk: doc, pdf
    • Things Are Not What They Seem (come-back can demo): doc, pdf
    • Cosmic Times 2019: doc, pdf
    • Century Timeline: doc, pdf
      • Appendix A: Key Cosmic Times Events: doc, pdf
      • Appendix B: Science, Cultural, World Events: doc, pdf

A Century of Cosmic Surprises

image of the first slide of the presentation

Abstract: Cosmic Times tells the story of how our understanding of the nature of the universe has changed over the past 100 years. Designed to fulfill the need for quality science literature in the classroom, Cosmic Times takes the form of six posters, each mimicking the front page of a newspaper at a key point in this history, with articles describing the discoveries. These milestones include the confirmation of Einstein's theory of gravity, Hubble's evidence for an expanding universe, the detection of the microwave background, and finally the discovery of dark energy. Telling this story also involves tracing astronomer's efforts to determine the size of the universe, understand the nature of supernovae, and comprehend the expansion of the universe. Through the scope of this history, students experience the process of science and how new technology and data change our ideas. This interactive workshop explores one of these themes through hands-on classroom activities.

Last presented at an educator workshop at the High Energy Astrophysics Division meeting on the Big Island, Hawaii, 2010

  • Download presentation: PowerPoint, PDF
  • Support materials:
    • Expanding universe video clip (from Beyond the Solar System DVD, produced for NASA by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics): mov
  • This presentation featured the following Cosmic Times lessons:
    • Evidence is Clear: doc, pdf
    • Things Are Not What They Seem (come-back can and UV beads): doc, pdf

Science Journalism: Using Science Literacy to Teach Fundamental Science

image of the first slide of the presentation

Abstract: Science has many stories to tell. A carefully crafted series of stories can create a rich experience based in science literacy to teach fundamental science concepts. In particular, framing the stories as historic news articles illustrates the process of science and opens up opportunities for multidisciplinary lessons. NASA's Cosmic Times materials illustrate how we applied this model to tell the story of our understanding of the expanding universe over the past century. Cosmic Times is a series of curriculum support materials and classroom activities for grades 7-12. The series includes six posters, each resembling the front page of a newspaper from a particular time during the past 100 years with articles describing the discoveries. The articles trace astronomer's efforts to determine the size of the universe, the nature of supernovae, and the nature of the expansion of the universe. Each poster is accompanied by inquiry-based lessons that teach the science, the process of science, and skills for science literacy. In addition, these lessons include cross-curricular activities exploring the times and social circumstances of the discoveries. These materials serve as a springboard for a discussion on using science literacy and storytelling with other science topics, ranging from our modern understanding of the planets and planet formation to the development of the theory of evolution.

Last presented at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific meeting in Millbrae, California, 2009

Cosmic Times: Astronomy History and Science for the Classroom

image of the first slide of the presentation

Abstract: Students are curious about the Universe, including topics such as the Big Bang, dark energy and the expanding Universe. Cosmic Times is a suite of curriculum support materials that makes these cosmology topics attainable to high school students by focusing on the process of science using "historic" front-page newspapers. Student readings trace our understanding of the nature of the Universe over the past 100 years from the first confirmation of Einstein's theory of gravity through the discovery and confirmation of dark energy. Each newspaper has 4-5 associated inquiry-based lessons to help students gain a firm understanding of the presented material. In addition, the articles for each newspaper come in differentiated reading levels for 7-8 grade, 9-10 grade and 11-12 grade readers. Each poster is accompanied by inquiry-based lessons that teach the science, the process of science, and skills for science literacy. In addition, lessons include cross-curricular activities that explore the times and social circumstances of the discoveries. In this workshop, we will visit each of the Cosmic Times years to trace the historical developments and engage in sample lessons.

Presented at a ProjectASTRO facilitator's workshop in Lake Tahoe, NV, 2009

  • Download presentation: PowerPoint, PDF
  • Support materials:
    • Handout: pdf, doc
    • Expanding universe video clip (from Beyond the Solar System DVD, produced for NASA by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics): mov
  • This presentation featured the following Cosmic Times lessons:
    • Eclipses and Moon Phases: pdf, doc
    • Unsung Heroes of Science: pdf, doc
    • Evidence is Clear: doc, pdf
    • Tornadoes and Galaxies: doc, pdf
    • Cosmic Microwave Background: doc, pdf
    • What's the Problem with Isotropy: doc, pdf
    • Things Are Not What They Seem (come-back can and UV beads): doc, pdf
    • Century Timeline: doc, pdf)
      • Appendix A: Key Cosmic Times Events: doc, pdf
      • Appendix B: Science, Cultural, World Events: doc, pdf

Inquiring into the Nature of the Universe

image of the first slide of the presentation

Abstract: Cosmic Times is a series of curriculum support materials for grades 7--12 which teach the nature of science by exploring the history of our understanding of the universe during the past 100 years. Starting with the confirmation of Einstein's theory of gravity in 1919 to the current conundrum posed by the discovery of dark energy, Cosmic Times examines the discoveries, the theories, and the people involved in this changing understanding of the universe. Cosmic Times takes the form of six posters, each resembling the front page of a newspaper from a particular time in this history, with articles describing the discoveries. Each poster is accompanied by 4--5 classroom lessons which enable students to examine the science concepts behind the discoveries, develop techniques to improve science literacy, and investigate the nature of science using historical examples. This interactive workshop follows the series of questions and answers that scientists followed from 1919 through 1965 - representing the first 4 issues of Cosmic Times.

Presented at the Space Foundation Teacher Liaison Workshop, Colorado Springs Colorado, 2008

  • Download presentation: PowerPoint, PDF
  • Support materials:
    • Einstein and Newton Fact Cards: pdf
  • This presentation featured the following Cosmic Times lessons:
    • Two Versions of Gravity: Newton and Einstein: doc, pdf
      • Fact Cards for "Newton - Einstein Information Exchange" Activity: pdf
    • Determining the Universe: doc, pdf
      • Appendix B: Galaxy Images: doc, pdf
      • Appendix C: Galaxy Fact Cards: doc, pdf
    • Yardsticks and Metersticks: doc, pdf
    • Evidence is Clear: doc, pdf
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