Life Cycle of Massive Stars

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for Life Cycle of a Star


Life Cycle of a Massive Star

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Activity Overview


Stars that are many times bigger than our Sun have a different life cycle than those which are smaller than the Sun. The forces involved with these stars are a lot bigger than in stars of a similar size to our own Sun. In this activity, students will create a narrative of the stages in a Massive star's life.

As an extension, have your students compare this life cycle with the life cycle of a star with a similar mass to that of our Sun. To make this activity easier, give the students the names of stages in the evolution of a massive star and have them put the stages in order.


StageDescription
Massive NebulaA nebula is a cloud of dust and gas that collapses under its own weight. As the cloud collapses, it gets warmer. When it reaches a certain temperature, nuclear fusion starts.
Massive Main Sequence StarAt this stage, the pressure from the nuclear fusion reactions are balanced by the force of gravity. The star will spend millions or billions of years in this stage, depending on its size.
Red SupergiantWhen the nuclear fuel runs out, the star swells in size. As the star grows, the outer layers cool, giving the star a red color.
SupernovaThe star’s core collapses, causing a violent explosion, and throwing the outer layers of the star into space.
Neutron Star or Black HoleWhat is left after the explosion is a very dense core known as a neutron star. If the star is extremely big, a very dense neutron star known as a black hole could form. A black hole is an area of space where the gravity is so strong that even light can’t escape.


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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard to show the stages in the life of a star much bigger than our Sun.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Label each cell with the titles of the different stages in the star's life. Add more cells if necessary.
  3. Use shapes, props, and textables to create visualizations to illustrate each stage. Alternatively, use images from Photos for Class.
  4. Describe what happens at each stage in the description box under each cell.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.
Blank Cell with Title-Description

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