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Activity Overview


All stars will eventually come to their end, but what the star’s life cycle looks like depends on the size and mass of the nebula at the start of the star’s life. In this activity, students will narrate the stages in a star's life. For this, they should focus on the life cycle of stars with a mass similar to that of our Sun. This will ensure that they aren't confused about the steps.

As an extension, have your students compare the life cycle of a star with a similar mass of our Sun to a star with a mass much larger than our Sun. To make this activity more accessible, print off the completed example storyboard, cut it up, and have your students put it together in the correct order.

Stages in the Life Cycle of a Star


StageDescription
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.
Main Sequence StarAt this stage, the outward pressure caused by nuclear fusion is balanced by the force of gravity holding the star together. The energy created by the nuclear fusion is emitted as radiation.
Red GiantWhen the has used up its nuclear fuel (hydrogen) the star grows in size and the outer layers cool, making the star red.
Planetary NebulaThese are some of the most beautiful objects that can be observed in the night sky. A planetary nebula occurs when the outer layers of the star are lost when moving from a red giant to a white dwarf.
White DwarfA white dwarf is a hot, small, dense, dead star. This is the core of a star that remains after the outer layers have drifted off in the planetary nebula.
Black DwarfAfter a long period of time, the hot, dense core known as a white dwarf cools and stops radiating light.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-12

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Group



Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows show the life cycle of a star with a mass similar to that of 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 in each stage in the description box under each cell.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.


Rubric

(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.
Proficient
25 Points
Emerging
13 Points
Beginning
0 Points
Stages
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.
Illustration
Every stage has a correct and descriptive image.
Most stages have a correct and descriptive image.
Some stages have a correct and descriptive image.
Descriptions
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.




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