In this activity, students learn about the different telescopes and instruments that are available at McDonald Observatory using the “What Are Astronomers Doing” web site.They use this information to assist a group of scientists in deciding which of McDonald Observatory’s resources will best suit their projects. As students learn about the instruments, they are also learning about the uses of electromagnetic waves in technological applications (telescopes and instruments). They are also thinking critically about what specific combinations of tools an astronomer requires to resolve each “problem situation”.

What Students Do

Students explore the telescopes and instruments available to astronomers at McDonald Observatory using the “What Are Astronomers Doing” web site. As they explore, students build two data tables about the telescopes and instruments. After reviewing a set of brief research “problem situations”, students consult their data tables then fill out their telescope and instrument recommendations for each proposed project on a table.

Materials You Will Need

  • Computers, Internet connection, web browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari).
  • Astro-Madness student handouts.
  • Optional software: spreadsheet, word processing, presentation.
  • Optional hardware: video projector.


Astro-Madness — Student Table Key

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Astro-Madness — Student Table

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Astro-Madness — Students 1

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Astro-Madness — Students 2

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Astro-Madness — Teacher's Guide

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