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ERIC Number: EJ1033032
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Apr
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
A Guided Inquiry on Hubble Plots and the Big Bang
Forringer, Ted
Physics Teacher, v52 n4 p199-201 Apr 2014
In our science for non-science majors course "21st Century Physics," we investigate modern "Hubble plots" (plots of velocity versus distance for deep space objects) in order to discuss the Big Bang, dark matter, and dark energy. There are two potential challenges that our students face when encountering these topics for the first time. The first challenge is in understanding and interpreting Hubble plots. The second is that some of our students have religious or cultural objections to the concept of a "Big Bang" or a universe that is billions of years old. This paper presents a guided inquiry exercise that was created with the goal of introducing students to Hubble plots and giving them the opportunity to discover for themselves why we believe our universe started with an explosion billions of years ago. The exercise is designed to be completed before the topics are discussed in the classroom. We did the exercise during a one hour and 45 minute "lab" time and it was done in groups of three or four students, but it would also work as an individual take-home assignment.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Georgia