As signature subhead reverse@2x
Online Explorations
Telescopes From the Ground Up
Half size oe preview teles ground up
Follow our sweeping history of telescope development over time. (Note: JWST is scheduled to launch in 2021.)

Online Exploration: Telescopes From the Ground Up traces the history of telescope development and highlights the interplay between technological and scientific advances. In this modular activity, milestones in telescope development are highlighted in the 10 sections called "eras," with specific examples included in the associated "telescope pages." The human component is integrated through the biography pages, which provide a glimpse of the inventors and astronomers behind the telescopes. The science of light and telescopes is presented in the section called "Get to the Root of It," which can be used for review, learning the basics or remediation.

Online interactive
6-14, but the material can be adapted for use in other grades at the teacher's discretion
How to use in the classroom

Online Exploration: Telescopes From the Ground Up can be used as a technology lesson, which highlights the link between technological advances and scientific discoveries. Teachers can have their students use the "Telescope Timeline" activity sheet to order 14 events in the history of telescope development, and provide an explanation of why each event is significant.

For more tips and suggestions about how to set up and use this activity in the classroom, access the complete lesson plan by clicking on the Teaching Tips button on the activity's first page. The lesson plan's first page includes a section called "How to prepare for an Online Exploration."

Selected sections of the lesson plan are also accessible from the first page of the activity: A science background component (the "All About Telescopes" button) contains information about light and color as well as telescopes. Other resources (the "Telescope Links" button) include downloadable images from the lesson, a student activity sheet ("Telescope Timeline," a downloadable PDF), a pre-engagement activity, and related Web sites. Specific information about computer requirements can be found by clicking the Computer Needs button.

Related materials (accessed below) include an audio slide show, which may be used for pre-engagement and/or follow-up activities.


Related materials

Amazing Space resources by topic: Space telescopes and History of science

For additional information on how telescopes work and what else we know about the Whirlpool Galaxy, access the audio slide show, "Piercing the Sky."