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Resources
Stars and stellar evolution
Helix Nebula "Knots"
Half size lp helix nebula knots 2x
(241 KB)
Contents

Photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows thousands of gigantic tadpole-shaped objects surrounding a dying star in the Helix Nebula.

Facts of interest about the image

Background text describes these objects and how they may have formed and provides definitions as well as fast facts.

Classroom activity

Included is an inquiry-based classroom activity that focuses on the image and text.

Description

This Hubble Space Telescope image of a section of the Helix Nebula, the closest planetary nebula to Earth, shows ball-shaped knots of gas. Information about the knots and their relationship to the missing mass in our galaxy, called "dark matter," is described in the text.

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

Teachers can use this lithograph as:

An engagement tool in an inquiry-based lesson. Have students study the image side of the lithograph. Ask them to write down any questions they have about the image. The students' questions can be used in a variety of ways:


  • Ask students to find the answers to their questions by reading the back of the lithograph and/or the related materials listed below.

  • Have students exchange papers so that each student has another classmate’s questions. Ask students to find the answers to the questions by reading the back of the lithograph and/or the related materials listed below.

  • Enlist volunteers to read their questions while you or a student records them on the blackboard or on an overhead projector transparency. Ask students to raise their hands if they have the same or a similar question. Record that number next to the question. Once all the questions have been added to the list, have students search for the answers to their questions in the text on the back of the lithograph. When they complete that task, ask them to decide if each of their questions was answered completely, partially, or not answered at all. Go through the original list and place an "A" in front of the questions that were answered completely, a "P" for those answered partially, and an "N" for those not answered at all. Determine if the most commonly asked questions were also answered completely. Encourage students to do further research to find answers to the unanswered questions.

A content reading tool. Have students read the text on the back of the lithograph and write a quiz for the class on the text.

Related materials