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Meet an inspiring astronomer and learn about stars!

Our colleagues at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics just released a video about graduate student Anna O'Grady and her research on stars. We think it's a great video worth watching for teachers and their students for many reasons:

  1. It portrays a young inspiring astronomer who tells us about her love of astronomy and her research project;

  2. It provides scientific content about stars, the different types of stars, and how they evolve.

  3. It gives us a unique perspective on how scientific research is done, and how the results are sometimes unexpected.

For elementary school

Some of the scientific explanations in the video might be too advanced for elementary school students, but the first few minutes of the video are definitely worth watching with them. We meet Anna and she explains how she got hooked to astronomy by a book she received for Christmas when she was young. We like this personal aspect of the story and the fact that she still has that book! Anna is a young scientist passionate about her work and she gives very clear explanations of what she studies.

In the first few minutes of the video, Anna explains the different types of stars. The visuals are well done and we like how Anna puts things in perspective when comparing the stars with our Sun. A few minutes later, we see how stars die with beautiful animations and images of supernovae and nebulae.

For secondary school

There is so much content in this video for secondary school students!

If you are teaching your students about types of stars and the HR diagram, you will love how Anna uses it to explain her research. The visuals are very interactive and we like how Anna writes directly on the diagram to explain concepts, making everything much clearer about how stars evolve, what we know and what we still don't know.

The last 10 minutes of the video cover Anna's research, from the early hypothesis to the surprising results. We rarely get the chance to see this process so well explained at a level that is accessible. Even if viewers miss some parts of the scientific explanation, it's still possible to understand the general idea and see how scientific research is actually done.

Overall, we really like this video and highly recommend it to teachers! And make sure to stick to the very end for the great story about Anna being on the front page of The Telegram, the newspaper in her home province of Newfoundland!

Anna with a copy of the newspaper The Telegram


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