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Astronomy Extra Credit


EC is held until the end of the semester. If you have no zeroes, assignments will be added to your grade. 

All extra credit is due on the last day of the semester, before the final exam. 

Each project below is worth 2% of the final course grade. You may complete up to 5 per semester.

  • SATURDAY PHYSICS: Attend a lecture at the University of Colorado. Submit a 1 page description of the lecture and your reaction to the information.
  • MOVIE CRITIQUE: Directions here.
  • ART: Create an original piece of art. Submit the art with a 1 page paper explaning how it relates to a topic studied in class. A quick sketch will not be accepted.
  • TRAVEL TO MARS: Directions here.
  • SPACE SPIN OFFS: Directions here.
  • COLORADO ASTRONOMY DAY: See instructions and information here
  • BE A CITIZEN SCIENTIST: Participate in the World Wide Star Count. Directions are here.
  • CREATE A MODEL: Read Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C Clarke.  When finished draw or construct a model of Rama.
  • MAKE A VIDEO: Film a unique video that completes the sentence, "Space Exploration is important because...". Upload it to Email it to your teacher to be played in class. 
  • OBSERVATIONS: Create a model of the celestial sphere. Find one elaborate example here (pdf file). Use it to teach the class.
  • FIELD TRIP: Attend a public viewing at an observatory such as the FIske or Chamberlin. More information HERE. Draw and describe 10 observations that you make while at the observatory. Have an observatory staff member sign your paper and provide an accurate phone number on your completed paper.
  • CAREERS: Investigate the many careers available to astronomers in a 2 page paper. Explore several aspects of on career you find interesting. Include preparation for the career, potential employers, the type of work that someone in this career would do, contributions of these professionals to society and to the field of astronomy, etc.  Identify three people who have been successful in this career, and profile their careers and contributions.  
  • FIELD TRIP: Attend a Thursday night talk at the Fiske planetarium in Boulder. You must show your student ID to get in free. Write a 1-2 page report of what you learned. 
  • CURRENT EVENT: Find a recent (within the last year) article on an astronomy topic from a credible source. Present the article to the class. Let Mrs. ZB know that you will be doing this assignment for extra credit so your presentation can be scheduled.
  • MOON: Draw a moon map. Requires binoculars and a reference map with surface feature names marked on it (easily found online). You'll also need to have the moon in full phase, plus or minus about 3 days. Do a quality job! Do the sketch first, then label features from a map.
  • SOLAR SYSTEM: Create a brochure that explains and illustrates the "10 Wonders of the Solar System". Of course, you will have to research the components of the solar system (moons, planets, asteroids, meteoroids, plutoids, kuiper belt objects, oort cloud, sedna, comets and the sun) and decide for yourself what the 10 wonders are. Brochure can be handmade or completed on the computer - either way, have lots of color, make it neat, include pictures and accurate information that is in your own words. 
  • GALAXIES: Build a model of a galaxy using everyday materials and/or food items. Present the model to the class. Let your teacher know a day in advance that you plan to present. 
  • COSMOLOGY: Complete the online lab on quasars HERE
  • COSMOLOGY: Read the short story, "The Last Question"  by Issac Asimov. Search  the web and find out what “heat death” means and how it relates to the story. Read what philosopher Bertrand Russell, biologist Charles Darwin, or someone else who wrote on the topic has to say (you can find this on the web). In a page, compare this point of view to Asimov’s and describe the impact on your own outlook on the universe.
  • TIME TRAVEL: Read the book "Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut and pay special attention to the time travel aspect. Does linear or spatial time make the most sense to you? Explain your opinion on a 1 page reflection. 
  • FASHION: Decorate a t-shirt with an astronomy theme. Wear it to class for a quick show & tell. Submit a 2 page paper on how it relates to a topic we have studied in class.
  • ART: Create a diorama (a 3D representation) of stellar evolution, the solar system or a model of our galaxy. Bring it in to class and be ready to show off your work.
  • PSEUDOSCIENCE: Research a pseudoscience (astrology, ESP, paranormal, flat earth, etc). In a 2 page paper, explain what the pseudoscience is, how it works and why it is not considered a science. 
  • HISTORICAL: Choose a culture or person that we studies in the Historical Astronomy mini-unit. Create a diary entry written by that person or a respresentative of that culture that explains the contributuion of that person or culture to the study of astronomy. The diary entry must be written in first person and accurate portray the language, customs and societal views of the time. Post your entry as a new page in our class Google Group.
  • MOONBuild an ACCURATE model of the moon using a balloon covered with paper mache. Label at least 25 features on the moon.
  • HUMANS IN SPACE: Create a 3-4 page field manual on how humans would survive the long space flights to other planets. 
  • SUN: Create a 3D model of the sun. You may not print images from a computer. Your neatness, creativity, and accuracy will also be assessed. Include: core, the fusion process, radiative zone, convective zone, photosphere, chromosphere, corona, sunspot, solar flare and prominence.

    Design a governing body for our solar system.  You can choose one of two scenarios.

     A.  Humans have colonized other planets and moons or 

    B.  Humans made contact with intelligent life in our solar system. 

    Present your ideas in a speech as if you where the new leader of this governing body. Give your speech to the class. 

  • FIELD TRIP: Visit the Museum of Nature and Science to view the Hubble IMAX show. Give your ticket stub to Mrs. ZB with a 1 page reflection. Current showtimes:
  • MODELBuild a model of a prototype ship which could be used for long space missions, or a probe designed to make contact with beings outside of our solar system.
  • MEDIA: Watch two TV shows or one movie about extra terrestrial life.  For the TV shows compare and contrast how each plot dealt with beings from other planets.  For the movie give a reaction about how the other beings act and are perceived. Your paper should be at least 2 pages.