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.
|Nebula||A 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 Star||At 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 Giant||When the has used up its nuclear fuel (hydrogen) the star grows in size and the outer layers cool, making the star red.|
|Planetary Nebula||These 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 Dwarf||A 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 Dwarf||After a long period of time, the hot, dense core known as a white dwarf cools and stops radiating light.|
Grade Level 6-12
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual or Group
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Create a storyboard that shows show the life cycle of a star with a mass similar to that of our Sun.
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
| Proficient |
| Emerging |
| Beginning |
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.
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