A while back I ran across a nifty website that I think more teachers should be familiar with – The Scale of the Universe 2.
I sent a link to a couple science teacher friends of mine, and I got a similar response from both; “it’s really cool, but I can’t figure out exactly where it fits in with what we’re covering in class”. So I decided to take a crack at it.
Here is my lesson plan for the Scale of the Universe 2: Scale of the Universe2 LP
Some notes about using the site.
What it does well:
- Illustrates the comparative scale of physical objects
- Helps users compare exponents with common examples
- Provides perspective on how small units assemble to make large units
- Literally scales from the known universe to the smallest “stuff”
What it does NOT do:
- Illustrate direct links between structure and function
- Provide actual images of objects (illustrations only)
- Provide significant details about click-able objects
Some ideas that might be useful for implementing the site into your lesson:
- Math-based exponent scavenger hunt
- Introducing/reviewing atomic structure
- Introducing scale and size comparisons
- Comparing units of measurement (nm, mm, km, parsecs etc)
- For an artifact in an environmental science unit, have students create their own version following the path of heavy metals through levels of an ecosystem
In the attached lesson plan, I included a few sample question stems that might help you get started. Teachers know what is best for their classroom, thus, I’ll leave the rest up to you.
So where does it fit into YOUR lesson? Have you used this site before, and if so, what did you do and how did it go? Post your responses and share with your colleagues!