BHP Team

This month, we’re focusing on the big question: How do we know where we are in the Milky Way? We dig into this topic in a guest expert BHP Blog post that sets the foundation for a new, out-of-this-world activity you can use in the classroom tomorrow.

In this activity, students are confronted with a conundrum: If we can barely travel beyond Earth’s orbit, how is it that we know what the Milky Way (a galaxy 100,000 light years across!) looks like? The work of astronomers in determining the makeup and behavior of the Milky Way galaxy is not dissimilar from what anthropologists and archaeologists do when they infer the customs of an ancient civilization based on tools and artifacts unearthed in a dig. While we’ll never be able to travel to the time of that civilization and interview its members in person, we can piece together a story based on clues and evidence. Same with the Milky Way.

Students get to don their archaeologist AND astronomer hats in the SAME activity! Now, how’s that for interdisciplinarity?

Unit 2 Extension: How do we know what the Milky Way looks like?

Try it out, and let us know what you think in the BHP Teacher Community!

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