Teacher Page: Overview
Description / Overview of the Lesson
How to prepare for an "Online exploration"
Process Skills Acquired
Target Audience / Grade Levels
This lesson reinforces students' understanding of simple random sampling using real data from the Hubble Deep Fields (HDFs). The Hubble Deep Fields - one looking north (HDF-N) and the other south (HDF-S) - are the deepest, sharpest, multi-color images of the faintest universe in visible light. A unique feature of the lesson is its reliance on the statistical analysis of real data. This data can be easily accessed from the Internet, independent of the lesson. Students will pick a sample of galaxies from one of the Deep Fields. They will determine if their sample data is valid by investigating bias in sampling techniques and the role of sample variability in determining the optimal sample size. A second sampling, from the second Deep Field, offers the chance to put improved sampling techniques to use. Comparisons between the students' valid data and the astronomers' results lead to a determination of whether the two Deep Fields are similar. The lesson concludes with an invitation to consider whether the distant universe of the Deep Fields is similar to the local universe.
- Bias in selecting a sample invalidates the sample.
- Optimal sample size can be established from the variability of the data as sample size increases.
- The similarity of the HDFs is consistent with the supposition that the universe looks the same in all directions.
- Comparison of the most common type of galaxy in the HDFs with that in the local universe illustrates that the universe does not look the same at different depths.
Before attempting to complete this lesson, the student should:
- be able to construct and interpret frequency tables
- demonstrate knowledge of simple random samples
- be able to define range, mean and median as they apply to statistics
- demonstrate knowledge of min/max plots
Process Skills Acquired:
Target Audience/Grade Levels:
Execution Time by Module:
The following are approximate times depending on your school's Internet location (e.g., classroom, library, computer lab), the number of computers available with Internet access, and the number of students in the class.
- Start Safari 10-15 minutes
- Bias 10-15 minutes
- Sample Size 15-20 minutes
- HDF-N vs. HDF-S 10-15 minutes
- Last Stop 5-10 minutes
January 8, 2004
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