Cosmos Episode 4 Viewing Worksheet

Planet Earth against black background
(Vitalij Cerepok/EyeEm/Getty Images)

The Fox television series "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson is an excellent way for students at the high school and even middle school level to supplement their learning on various science topics. With episodes that cover almost all of the major disciplines in science, teachers are able to use these shows along with their curriculum to make the topics more accessible and even exciting for learners of all levels.

Cosmos Episode 4 was mostly focused on Astronomy topics, including star formation and death and black holes. There are also some great illustrations about the effects of gravity. It would be a nice addition to an Earth or Space Science class or even Physics classes that touch on the study of Astronomy as a supplement to the students' learning.

Teachers need to have a way to assess whether a student is paying attention and learning during a video. Let's face it, if you turn the lights down and have soothing music, it is easy to doze off or daydream. Hopefully, the questions below will help keep the students on task and allow teachers to assess whether or not they understood and were paying attention. The questions can be copy-and-pasted into a worksheet and modified to fit the needs of the class.

Cosmos Episode 4 Worksheet                            Name:___________________

 

Directions: Answer the questions as you watch episode 4 of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

 

1.  What does William Herschel mean when he tells his son there is a “sky full of ghosts”?

 

2.  How fast does light travel in space?

 

3.  Why do we see the Sun rise before it is over the horizon?

 

4.  How far away is Neptune from the Earth (in light hours)?

 

5.  How long would it take the Voyager Spacecraft to reach the nearest star in our galaxy?

 

6.  Using the idea of how fast light travels, how do scientists know our universe is older than 6500 years?

 

7.  How far away from Earth is the center of the Milky Way Galaxy?

 

8.  How far away is the oldest galaxy we’ve every discovered?

 

9.  Why does know one know what happened before the Big Bang?

 

10.  How long after the Big Bang did it take for stars to form?

 

11.  Who discovered field forces that act on us even when we’re not touching other objects?

 

12.  How fast do waves move through space, as calculated by James Maxwell?

 

13.  Why did Einstein’s family move from Germany to Northern Italy?

 

14.  What two things did the book Einstein read as a kid discuss on the first page?

 

15.  What did Einstein call the “rules” that must be obeyed when traveling at high speeds?

 

16.  What is the name of the man Neil deGrasse Tyson calls “one of the greatest scientists you’ve probably never heard of” and what did he discover?

 

17.  What happened to the fire hydrant when it was exposed to 100,000g?

 

18.  What is the name of the first black hole ever discovered and how did we “see” it?

 

19.  Why does Neil deGrasse Tyson call black holes the “subway system of the Universe”?

 

20.  If getting sucked into a black hole could cause an explosion similar to the Big Bang, what would be in the center of that black hole?

 

21.  What type of “time travel” did John Herschel invent?

 

22.  What is the date that Neil deGrasse Tyson met Carl Sagan in Ithaca, New York?