What is it? What can it do?

Grade Level: Physical Science
Time Frame: 1 day


Students will use the scientific method to discover what a 18-inch radio telescope is and for what it can be used.

Standards and Benchmarks:

Strand I: Scientific Thinking and Practice
Standard I:
Understand the processes of scientific investigations and use inquiry and scientific ways of observing, experimenting, predicting, and validating to think critically.
Benchmark: Use accepted scientific methods to collect, analyze, and interpret data and observations and to design and conduct scientific investigations and communicate results.

Language Arts
Reading and Listening for Comprehension
Content Standard I: Students will apply strategies and skills to comprehend information that is read, heard, and viewed.
9-12 Benchmark I-C: Demonstrate critical thinking skills to evaluate information and solve problems
Performance Standard: Support informed opinions by providing relevant and convincing reasons, using various types of evidence, language, and organizational structure, and demonstrating an awareness of possible questions, concerns, or counter-arguments.


This is the first lesson of a unit on Radio Astronomy. Suggestions for the complete unit are given in Big Things With Itty Bitty. You will want to come back to the Itty Bitty through the unit on Radio Astronomy.

One must build an "Itty Bitty Telescope" before this lesson is presented. Once you have the equipment, materials and supplies collected for the projected, you should be able to build it in a day. Click here for the directions.

For background information on Radio Astronomy click here.

For information about the Itty Bitty Radio Telescope click here.


Before the lesson:
Build the Itty Bitty Telescope
Copy the Student Assignment
Copy the What is it worksheet
Copy the What is it rubric

Presenting the lesson:
This lesson is the first of a unit on Radio Astronomy. This is a discovery lesson where the students use investigative techniques to discover a concept. Don't give them too many hints! If they don't get the idea right away they will as you start presenting other lessons concerning Radio Astronomy.


Materials and supplies required for the building of the Itty Bitty Telescope are listed in How to build the Itty Bitty.


See What is it rubric.

Modifications and Extensions:

Students will design projects that involve the use of the Itty Bitty Telescope.


Little Bitty Telescope Version 2.