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Origins: Back to the Beginning

Viewing Ideas

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Origins: Earth is Born Viewing Ideas
Origins: How Life Began Viewing Ideas
Origins: Where are the Aliens? Viewing Ideas


Before Watching

  1. Ask students how they think TV images are transmitted. (Via radio waves.) How do they think a television remote works? (Through infrared waves.) How does a light bulb give off light? (With light waves.) Tell students that these are all the result of the transmission of different kinds of energies that travel in waves. Review the electromagnetic spectrum with students, informing them that each part of the spectrum provides different information about the universe. Find out more at amazing-space.stsci.edu/resources/explorations/light/ems-frames.html and www.lbl.gov/MicroWorlds/ALSTool/EMSpec/EMSpec2.html

  2. Organize students into two groups. As students watch, have one group take notes on the Cosmic Background Imager science team and the other take notes on the team that developed the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe. Have students note who makes up each team, what each team is working to accomplish, and what motivates each team.

After Watching

  1. Discuss students' notes about the CBI and WMAP science teams. What did the teams have in common? What were their main differences? What were some of the positive and negative aspects of the competition between them?

  2. Ask students what they think it means when astronomers say," We are made of stardust." How are humans and stars connected? (As stars burn fuel over their lifetimes, they eventually forge all known chemical elements. Generations of stellar explosions create a rich soup of elements that get recycled to become new stars, planets, and eventually the chemicals that make up humans.)

Teacher's Guide
Origins: Back to the Beginning
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