In 1990, NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit around Earth where it can collect clear images of space, unobstructed by our atmosphere. In the last 19 years, Hubble has allowed scientists to discover quasars, dark energy, and the age of the universe. The telescope runs on two 25 ft. solar panels, orbits Earth once every 97 minutes, and has collected countless images of space using filters that can process ultraviolet, infrared and visible light.
Learning about Hubble fits perfectly with lessons on space exploration, renewable energy or the light spectrum. Visit Hubblesite.org to find bunches of information about Hubble's history and structure.
After students read about the telescope, check out all of Hubblesite's fun, extension activities like
tracking the Hubble's orbit, preparing for a night of stargazing, and building a hand-held Hubble.
For many students, tactile experiences like model-making aid in their comprehension of a concept. Also, understanding the relationship between a model and the object it represents is a key learning objective in some states.
The site provides three tutorials for mini-telescope construction, which you can approach as your bravery accords. In my class, we made the basic, paper model, which the site describes as "Average to Difficult." This took just less than three 45-minute class periods with about 18 sets of helping hands.
Hubble diagram and photo from Hubblesite.org