Resource Image Universe: How We Know What We Know
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Type of Resource: Science Object
Average Rating: Rating
 based on 7 reviews
Publication Title: None
Grade Level: Elementary School, High School, Middle School


Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NASA and NSTA, is the first of five Science Objects in the Universe SciPack. It explores the methods and tools used by astronomers to study the universe and the various objects that make up the known universe. What we know about the universe today is a result of increasingly sophisticated technologies that allow astronomers to capture and study incoming light from the universe across many different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, as well as use computers to analyze data. Astronomers study the position and motion of objects, as well as the color and intensity of the light coming from those objects. These observations help determine the distances of those objects, their composition, and the processes at work.

Ideas For Use


Additional Info

Science Discipline: (mouse over for full classification)
Electromagnetic radiation
Intended User Role:Elementary-Level Educator, High-School Educator, Middle-Level Educator, Teacher
Educational Issues:Inquiry learning, Learning theory, Professional development, Teacher content knowledge


Resource Format:
Size: KB
Installation Remarks:

National Standards Correlation

This resource has 6 correlations with the National Standards.  

This resource has 6 correlations with the National Standards.  

  • Physical Science
    • Interactions of energy and matter
      • Electromagnetic waves result when a charged object is accelerated or decelerated. (9-12)
  • Earth Science
    • Objects in the sky
      • The sun, moon, stars, clouds, birds, and airplanes all have properties, locations, and movements that can be observed and described.
  • Process Standards for Professional Development
    • Research-Based
      • Address teachers' needs as learners and build on their current knowledge of science content, teaching, and learning. (NSES)
    • Design
      • Introduce teachers to scientific literature, media, and technological resources that expand their science knowledge and their ability to access further knowledge. (NSES)
    • Learning
      • Build on the teacher's current science understanding, ability, and attitudes. (NSES)
  • Physical Science
    • Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism
      • NA

State Standards Correlation

Use the form below to view which of your state standards this resource addresses.

User Reviews

How We Know What We Know
  Caitlin Quigley (Brant, MI) on May 5, 2015
  This is a really neat activity. This being one of my weaknesses it helped me learn a lot. It helped me re-learn and learn concepts I will need to know to earn my science credentials in order to be a science teacher. Its a great introduction to the stars and the universe. It truly had great material to take with me as a future teacher and even to share with my students.

I Love Science Objects!
  Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA) on September 3, 2014
  I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Universe: How We Know What We Know Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are very beneficial! Not only do they enrich my teaching, the knowledge enriches my life as well!.

Telescope Funding Proposals
  James Johnson (Custer City, PA) on December 29, 2012
  This was a neat activity and well thought out but kinda hidden. As a SOFIA Airborne Astronomer Ambassador, I was delighted to find the Proposed Project #7 to be " infrared telescope carried by an airplane high above the clouds" to be appropriate for funding.

Characteristics of Stars& Astronomical Objects
  Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD) on December 27, 2011
  Great introduction to stars and the universe. From an introduction of the electromagnetic spectrum (radio-infrared- visible (ROY G BiV)- ultraviolet-xrays-gamma) to the various types of telescopes, this resource takes you on a wonderful journey with an explanation of the characteristics of stars (color, temperature, and chemical composition). Good material to share with students; the graphics and videos help to further one’s understanding of the distance of stars and how telescopes are used to collet and focus light (and other forms of electromagnetic radiation).

Great Foundation
  Claire on March 18, 2014
  This science object does a great job of laying the foundational knowledge for how we understand space. Some of the questions push beyond the material covered in the object, but they act as a way to get the learner to make inferences and consider the topic more deeply. The only reason I rate this as a four instead of a five is that it was sometimes verbose and could have utilized some more interactivity.

  Kelly (Brewster, NY) on December 27, 2011
  The comparisions of hot and cold and how we know it are helpful to common misconceptions we will be faced with in the classroom as we talk about colors. Also, the different types of telescopes that are used is helpful to read and learn about.

Great review
  Donald B (Stafford, VA) on October 22, 2011
  This is a wonderful program to get ready to teach about starts and the spectrum. Might also be good for students to review on computers as well.