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Universe in the Classroom

Welcome to the Universe in the Classroom! Started in 1984, this electronic educational newsletter continues to be used by teachers and other educators around the world who want to help students of all ages learn more about the wonders of the universe through astronomy. 

Each issue is designed for teachers who want to learn more about astronomy themselves and to bring more astronomy into their classrooms. You’ll find information on a topic of current astronomical interest, along with hands-on classroom activities to make the topic come alive for students. Each issue also contains resource links to take you deeper into a subject if you want to dive in and explore a topic more thoroughly. We post it in a printer-friendly version as well as a PDF document to make it simple to take right into the classroom.

Universe in the Classroom is made possible by a generous gift from well-known astronomy educator Dr. Donat Wentzel and from other ASP members.

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Current Issue: Winter 2018

From Pinholes to Space Telescopes: Using the Galileoscope to Explore Light, Optics, and How Telescopes Work

by Brian Kruse (Astronomical Society of the Pacific)

While most people have a basic idea of how lenses work, they frequently don’t know how telescopes use lenses and mirrors together to organize light to form images of distant objects. Through a simple sequence of activities, learners of any age can explore the behavior of light through the use of a simple pinhole viewer and lenses of differing focal lengths. Exploring the properties of both light and lenses will help learners incrementally develop a more complete mental model of how light behaves, and how lenses work together in a simple refracting telescope.

In this edition of The Universe in the Classroom, explore an instructional sequence where learners investigate what pinhole viewers and giant telescopes have in common through using lenses to construct a basic model of a telescope.

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