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Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Visualizing the Invisible
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for Teachers is divided into three sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the Lesson.
Steps -- Conducting the Lesson.
Tips-- Managing Resources and Student Activities.


Student Prerequisites:
Students should be familiar with general relativity and black holes.

Computer Resources
You will need a computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:
  • Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
  • Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MB of RAM.
  • IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 with at least 16 MB of RAM running Windows 95.

For more information, visit "What You Need to Get Connected" in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

Materials: Video from STEPHEN HAWKING'S UNIVERSE "Black Holes and Beyond." (To order call 1-800-424-7963.)

Stephen Hawking's Universe - What to Read

Matter & Antimatter Black Holes Computer Simulations

Andrew Hamilton's Home Page

Relativity and Black Hole Links

Movies from the Edge

How to Do Animated GIFs


  • Using material from the STEPHEN HAWKING'S UNIVERSE Web site ( or showing the episode "Black Holes and Beyond," introduce black holes to the students. Engage students in a discussion of black holes.

  • Explain to the students that they are to work in teams of two to create animations of black holes. With that goal in mind, have the students view as many examples from the bookmarked sites as time permits.

  • Give students access to any of several graphics software programs (Illustrator, CorelDraw, PhotoShop, SuperPaint, Macromedia Director, HyperStudio) or allow students to draw by hand using traditional materials such as watercolor, markers, or colored pencils. These hand-drawn illustrations can be scanned and saved for use in an animation program.

  • Have students visit the How to Do Animated GIFs ( site to learn how to build animations using their illustrations.

    Working in Groups
    If you have access to only one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your classroom into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc. from the library for the group doing paper research. Lead the group working at the computer through an Internet search or allow the students in the class to take turns. (It may be efficient to have a set of bookmarks ready for the students working before they start working on the computer.) When the groups have finished working, have them switch places.

    Look for Web Resources Together as a Class
    If you have a big monitor or projection facilities, you can do an Internet search together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen. Go to the STEPHEN HAWKING'S UNIVERSE Web site and review the information presented there. Bookmark the pages that you and your students think are helpful. Go to a search engine page, allow your students to suggest the search criteria, and do an Internet search. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

    Using a Computer Lab
    A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. Generally, when doing Web-based research, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites in the browser for students ahead of time and to make suggestions about how to use these sites. This way, you can be sure that students have a starting point.

    Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students