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Transit Tracks

Classroom activity adaptable for grades 8-12, and general education astronomy courses.

Transit Tracks Lesson (PDF, 1.44 MB) classroom activity (revised April 2011) - includes teacher instructions, photocopy masters for Transit Light Curves, Option Math for Transit Tracks, Kepler’s 3rd Law graphs, cube root tables, an account of Jeremiah Horrocks' 1639 observation of the transit of Venus, and an answer key for the Transit Tracks Light Curves. See elements of Next Generation Science Standards that Transit Tracks supports.

Transit Tracks PowerPoint Slides (Power Point, 30.55 MB) (revised June 2013). This presentation supports teaching this lesson. Each slide is annotated with background information. Contents by slide numbers:

  • Kepler Mission Goals-explanation, 1-7
  • What is a transit, 8-13
  • Graphing Light Curves—introduction, 14-17
  • Kepler's Third Law presented graphically: 18-23 (also optional: 56-58)
  • Transit Tracks Light Curves: 24-33
  • Student worksheets and results table: 34-36
  • Kepler's planets: 37-40
  • Kepler's planet candidates: 41-50
  • Habitable zone planet discoveries: 51-54
  • Planet candidate family portrait: 55
  • Johannes Kepler: 56
  • Optional: Kepler's Three Laws illustrated: 57-59
  • Optional: Derivation of planet-size formula: 60

Make a Lego Orrery.

This is a trial version of an activity intended to be part of the Full Option Science System (FOSS) Planetary Science Course. Transit Tracks is © 2008 by the Regents of the University of California and may be duplicated for non-profit education purposes.

A sample Transit Light Curve from the lesson:
Light Curves--Page 5 from Transit Tracks