2020 Online Astronomy Institute - Module 5: The Lives of the Stars

Our ancestors looked up at night in wonder at the points of light. They used the patterns in those points to help tell stories. Astronomers, the modern day storytellers of the night sky, use them as guideposts to find their way around the night sky. Complete details below.

Registration Opens in the Fall


Recognizing that these glowing points are the factories from which chemical elements are made came only recently.  We also discovered that the stars are not eternal, and that in their death throes stars evolve into exotic objects whose properties push the very boundaries of science as researchers strive to understand them.

This module explores what we know about stars, their properties and classification, their fates.

Appropriate for teaching grade levels 3-12.


Dates: January 5 - February 5, 2021

Times: Four live sessions on Tuesdays (January 12, 19, 26, and February 2), 4-5pm Pacific Time (7-8pm Eastern)


NGSS focus: 

5-PS2-1: Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.

5-ESS1-1: Support an argument that differences in the apparent brightness of the sun compared to other stars is due to their relative distances from the Earth.

MS-ESS1-2: Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system. 

HS-ESS1-2: Construct an explanation of the Big Bang theory based on astronomical evidence of light spectra, motion of distant galaxies, and composition of matter in the universe.

HS-ESS1-4: Use mathematical or computational representations to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system.

Details: Each module lasts five consecutive weeks, with 1-hour webinars offered weekly for four of these weeks.  Each module includes a Materials Kit that will be shipped directly to you at the Shipping Address you provide during Checkout. Please note: Shipping is included for the Continental U.S. If your ship-to address is Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, or International, we will contact you with the additional shipping fees.

Before the first and between the webinar sessions, you’ll engage in activities on your own time, including posting ideas and opinions in an online forum and engaging in assignments and activities related to the content.  You’ll also get a chance to try out the activities with your classes between the webinars and share your experiences.

Academic credits: Up to two semester units of academic credit available through The University of the Pacific for participants completing all six modules.  Those completing three modules are eligible for one semester unit of academic credit.