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Online Explorations
Galaxy Hunter
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Pack your calculator! Statistically speaking, this cosmic photo shoot is out of this world!

Online Exploration: Galaxy Hunter uses real data from the Hubble Space Telescope to strengthen students' understanding of simple random samples. Students will examine galaxies in the Hubble Deep Fields, the deepest visible-light images of the universe. They will investigate bias in sampling techniques and use min/max plots to determine optimal sample size based on the variability of different-sized samples. Students also will use statistical data in order to make conjectures about the universe.

Online interactive
10-12, but the material can be adapted for use in other grades at the teacher's discretion
How to use in the classroom

Online Exploration: Galaxy Hunter can be used to reinforce a lesson on bias and/or to introduce the idea of sample variability. The "Student Travelogue" is a worksheet designed for use as the student works through the activity.

For more suggestions about how to use this activity in the classroom, access the lesson plan by clicking on the Teaching Tips button found on the first page of the activity. A math and science background component (the "All About Statistics" button) contains information about statistics and the Hubble Deep Field that may be used by teachers and students. Other resources (the "Statistics Links" button) include the printable documents from the activity, related web sites, and references. Specific information about computer requirements (the "Computer Needs" button) can also be found on the first page of the activity. In addition, “How to prepare for an online ‘Amazing Space’ activity” provides tips for setting up and using this activity in the classroom.

Related materials (accessed below) include Q&A's, a lithograph and a graphic organizer, which may be used for pre-engagement and/or follow-up activities.

Related materials

Lithograph: Hubble’s Galaxy Gallery

Graphic Organizer: Comparison of spiral, elliptical, and irregular galaxies

Q&A: Galaxies

Amazing Space resources by topic: Math: Satistics

Amazing Space resources by topic: Math: Estimating and sampling

Printable Parts

The printable documents used in the activity are listed in the Grab Bag section, which can be found in "Statistics Links" accessible from the first page of the activity. A Student Travelogue worksheet accompanies the activity and can be printed for use while the students are working through the activity.