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Mathematics (5212 resources)
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Telescopes


Have you ever looked through a telescope at the night sky? Stars, moons, and planets become even more brilliant and distinct. Glancing up at the sky with our own eyes, we see only the tiniest fraction of the light that blazes from other stars and galaxies. Telescopes help us to focus that light and allow us to see more than we ever imagined was out there.

The first optical telescope was invented in the 1570's and consisted of one concave lens and one convex lens fitted inside a tube. The lenses refracted light and magnified objects two to four times. By 1609, the astronomer Galileo had developed a better model of the refracting telescope that magnified by about 20 times. With this instrument he saw that the moon, which many people thought was perfectly smooth, was actually covered with craters, peaks, and valleys! He also dicovered four of Jupiter's moons. Astronomy would never be the same.

The magnification of refracting telescopes could only be increased by lengthening the tube that contained the lenses. Thus, the father into space people wanted to see, the longer the telescope had to be. In 1671, Sir Isaac Newton invented a reflecting telescope, a vast improvement over the refracting model. Reflecting telescopes contain a parabolic mirror that reflects all the light that hits it back through a single point, the focal point. From the focal point, the concentrated light travels up the tube to a flat mirror that deflects it into the eyepiece. The length of the tube can be considerably shorter than that of a refracting telescope.

This reflecting technology has been incorporated into amazing machines like the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble orbits the Earth on a satellite, and the view it gives us is undistorted by the Earth's atmosphere. The telescope weighs 12 tons, and its parabolic mirror is eight feet in diameter. Hubble has given us pictures of comets, galaxies, black holes, and of the birth of stars. Yet our wonder at these sights could not surpass the wonder Galileo must have felt when he looked through his own small telescope at the moon for the first time in human history.

Highlights

Videos
Do your students love videos? We have a growing collection of videos (including related activities) for holidays and events, including: women's history, Memorial Day, Independence Day, slavery & the Civil War, U.S. Presidents, handwashing awareness, the Common Core, American History, and the environment. Enjoy!

May Calendar of Events
May is full events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Backyard Games Week (5/18-25), Buy a Musical Instrument Day (5/22), and Memorial Day (5/25). Plus, celebrate Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month, Inventors Month, Physical Fitness & Sports Month, and Water Safety Month!

Teaching with Comics: Galactic Hot Dogs
Reach reluctant readers and English-language learners with comics! Our original teaching guides to the Galactic Hot Dogs comic series (chapters 1-4 and 5-8), as found on Funbrain.com, will take students on a cosmic adventure while engaging their creative minds. Plus, find even more activities for teaching with comics, featuring many other classic stories.

Now available: Galactic Hot Dogs in print! Buy it at bookstores now.

Poptropica Teaching Guides
Poptropica is one of the Internet's most popular sites for kids—and now it's available as an app for the iPad! It's not just a place to play games; each of the islands featured on the site provides a learning opportunity. Check out our teaching guides to four of Poptropica's islands: 24 Carrot Island, Time Tangled Island, Mystery Train Island, and Mythology Island.


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