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Black Holes

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Amongst the most extreme environments in the universe, black holes pique curiosity and defy our intuition about time, space, and gravity. This updated resource brings cutting-edge physics topics into the high school curriculum, using hands-on, inquiry-based activities.

Students will explore energy, gravitation, gravitational lensing, orbits, Kepler’s laws, and scientific models. For example, using Newtonian gravity and then Einstein’s general theory of relativity, Activities 1 and 2 examine the question “what are black holes?” Next, Activity 3 explores where black holes form in our galaxy, and Activities 4, 5, and 6 use real data—focusing on Cygnus X-1, Sgr A*, and M87*, respectively—to explore some of the observational evidence for black holes. In addition, the resource is accompanied by a short, dynamic video examining how black holes form.

This resource is designed to excite learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), with an emphasis on global competencies—including critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, and communication.