A Changing Cosmos

cover for A Changing Cosmos book

A Changing Cosmos is the latest edition of the Hands-On Universe (HOU) astronomy curriculum series. It is a  compilation in a single book as the “Best” of the seven original HOU high school curriculum books developed by TERC*.

See also: Solar System Science.


Chapter TitlesInvestigationsStay Current
1. Cosmic Cataclysms1.1 Down2Earth Crater Impact CalculatorChapter 1
2. Astronomers’ Tools2.1 Using Star Maps
2.2 CCD Image Color Coding
2.3 Browsing the Universe*
2.4 Remote Telescopes
2.5 Planetariums
Chapter 2
3. Cosmic Engines3.1 Size and Scale of the Sun*
3.2 Plate Scale of a Smartphone*
3.3 Sun Movement
3.4 Window to the Stars
Chapter 3
4. Fathoming Huge Distances4.1 Parallax
4.2 Distance to the Moon Using Parallax
4.2 A Law of Brightness
4.3 Star Magnitudes
4.4 A Cepheid Variable Star*
Chapter 4
5. Color, Temperature &
       Age of Stars
5.1 Temperature
5.2 Filters
5.3 Measure Color*
5.4 HR Diagrams of Star Clusters
5.5 Annie Jump Cannon and the Harvard Computers
Chapter 5
6. Dramatic Change in Stars6.1 Find Supernovae*
6.1b. Discovery of Pulsars
6.2 Eclipsing Binaries
6.3 Discovery of Gravitational Waves
Chapter 6
7. Planet-Star Systems7.0 Moon Activities
7.1 Jupiter’s Moons*
7.2 Asteroid Search
Chapter 7
8. Search for Habitable Planets8.1 Exoplanet Transits*Chapter 8
9. Cosmos Begins… and Ends?9.1 Hearing the Doppler Effect
9.2 Model Waves
9.3 Hubble’s Law
9.4 Count Galaxies*
Chapter 9
AcknowledgementsBibliographic Sources

Solar System Science

Originally titled Hands-On Solar System (HOSS), Solar System Science was designed as a middle school curriculum in the Hands-On Universe project. Students use images from professional telescopes along with image processing software developed for use in the classroom to learn key concepts in astronomy, mathematics, and technology. The components are:

Activity: What is it? How far is it?

A good reference openstax textbook to accompany this course is Astronomy (textbook online) by Andrew Fraknoi, David Morrison, and Sidney Wolff – https://openstax.org/details/books/astronomy-2e. See also group resources for openstax Astronomy – https://oercommons.org/groups/openstax-astronomy/1283/?__hub_id=27.

* The seven books of the original TERC high school Hands-On Universe curriculum:

  • Introduction to Image Processing—how to use the HOU Image Processing Software
  • Finding Features—including a Browser’s Guide to the Universe.
  • Measuring Size—Use the pixel plate scale to measure a lunar crater; track Jupiter’s moons; calculate mass of Jupiter.
  • Measuring Color—colors of stars, the HR diagram, and how stars evolve according to their mass.
  • Measuring Distance—Learn how the cosmological distance ladder is used to determine the distance to far away objects.
  • Measuring Brightness—Learn about photometry — measurement of light from a celestial object.
  • Searching for Supernovae—See how astronomers find supernovae — exploding stars.