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.

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.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

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.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [SCI-HS-ESS1-3] Communicate scientific ideas about the way stars, over their life cycle, produce elements.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Lifecycle of Stars
Order the stages of a star's lifecycle, illustrate them and write a description for them.
25 Points
13 Points
0 Points
All the stages in the star's lifecycle have been identified and put in the correct order.
Most of the stages in the star's lifecycle have been identified and and most are in the correct order.
Some of the stages in the star's lifecycle have been identified and and some are in the correct order.
Every stage has a correct and descriptive image.
Most stages have a correct and descriptive image.
Some stages have a correct and descriptive image.
All the stages have a clear description which contains good scientific vocabulary.
Most stages have a clear description.
Some stages have a clear description.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out.
Work shows some evidence of effort.
Work shows little evidence of any effort.

Image Attributions
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