Teachers' Corner -- LIGO in Your Classroom

[explore] We invite you to request a classroom lesson on an aspect of LIGO science. Our NBPTS-certified outreach coordinator can visit your school with materials and student handouts for the activities listed below. These can be tailored for specific objectives that you may wish to address. Some teachers have requested this service prior to a LIGO field trip while others have used it to help develop a 'science in the real world' context for units on physics, earth science, astronomy or geometry. Visits to schools are available at no charge, courtesy of the National Science Foundation's support of LIGO.

Check Our Lesson Menu

LIGO 101  Slides, computer simulations, demonstrations and experimentation with our tabletop interferometer will acquaint students with LIGO's science mission and with our huge detectors. Middle school and high school. [ifo] Waves I  Waves are everywhere but are usually invisible. How can we measure them? A dozen hands-on stations with microphones, signal generators, oscilloscopes, tuning forks and - of course - Jello. Modifiable for all levels [off_site]
Waves II - The Sequel  "Bring us more wave activities," our customers cried, so here is another group of hands-on wave stations with a greater emphasis on the nature of light. Middle school and high school. [waves] Feel the Pressure  A large group assembly-style presentation on forces and pressure, featuring a variety of highly visual (and a few flammable) demos. Includes liquid nitrogen. Suitable for all levels [demo]
Astronomy Road Show  Hands-on astronomy with thirteen interactive activity stations that provide a mixture of Solar System, galaxy and extra-galactic astronomy along with a bit of instrumentation. Middle school and high school. [e_h] Big Waves  More waves and vibrations in a large-group presentation. Students will view large demos of mechanical waves, sound waves, light waves and mixtures of waves (such as sound traveling on a laser beam). Middle and high school [0101]
Cold Enough to Freeze  Ice is cold, dry ice is colder and liquid nitrogen is very cold. This lesson emphasizes heat transfer and phase changes in materials. No hands-on for the students, but vivid demos. Suitable for all levels [d_ice Safe Solar Viewing  Solar viewing through LIGO's portable H-alpha solar telescope. Students often are amazed at the features the Sun displays. Supplements include mini-experiments with prisms and lenses. Middle and high school students [scope]
Geometry in Science  LIGO's science framework is built on geometry. Students perform a set of LIGO-connected activities that combine to say "Yes, math is important." Suitable for upper middle and high school. Friction Frenzy  A mixture of large-group demonstrations and hands-on experiments. This lesson sends students down the slippery slope of low, lower and lowest frction on moving objects. Suitable for upper elementary. [friction]
Sizes in Space  How big are objects in the sky, and how far are they from us? Young students are asked to exercise their imaginations and counting ability in this activity that emphasizes scale. Suitable for K-3. [ss] Careers in Science Research  A presentation that illustrates the diversity of possibilities in science research careers, using LIGO as a case study that breaks down stereotypical views of scientists and engineers. Suitable for upper middle and high school. [careers]
Measurement Madness  Entirely hands-on -- students will measure masses, volumes, lengths, areas and other quantities and convert the measurements between fractions and decimals. Every measurement involves small pieces of LIGO. Elementary. [ifo] Build an Interferometer  Small groups of students each will assemble a tabletop version of LIGO (less fancy than the photo version but very effective) and perform some sensitivity experiments. This activity requires at least 80 minutes. [ifo_1]

Make an inquiry about LIGO in your classroom by calling our outreach coordinator at 509-372-8248 or by sending an email to outreach(at)ligo-wa.caltech.edu


Last modified Oct 10, 2013
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LIGO is supported by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation