The SOFIA Outreach team has developed classroom activities related to SOFIA science and technology. These activities and modules are consistent with National Science Education Standards and Next Generation Science Standards, are age and grade-appropriate, and have been thoroughly tested and evaluated by practicing teachers.

SOFIA Public Engagement Presentations

Active Astronomy: Classroom Activities for Learning About Infrared Light
A set of five activities that focus on improving student understanding of infrared light.

Most students are familiar with the rainbow of colors that make up visible light. They're often less comfortable dealing with light from the other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum – gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet light, visible light, infrared light, microwaves, and radio waves. Students may not realize the important role played by non-visible light in their everyday lives. For example, TV remote controls, car-locking systems, and some grocery store check-out scanners use infrared light to signal between devices or read bar-codes. Computers use infrared light to read CD-ROMs. Night-vision goggles register infrared light (also known as heat radiation), as do search-and-rescue monitors that look for the heat given off by someone lost in the wilderness at night.

These hands-on and demonstration activities are designed to complement instruction on the electromagnetic spectrum for middle and high school students; they are not a complete curriculum. Each activity has been designed to take 1-2 class periods.

Get details and files to download

Grade Level - Middle/High School

Exploring Invisible Light Activity

  1. Exploring Invisible Light PDF
  2. Science Behind the Scenes PDF

The temperature sensitive film (stock #72-373) is available online at Edmund Optics.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Electromagnetic Spectrum poster

A poster about the electromagnetic spectrum was designed by the NASA Origins Forum missions' E/PO personnel. The front of the poster is a visual-wavelength image of the Whirlpool Galaxy (Messier 51) from the Hubble Space Telescope compared with a row of images of the same galaxy at a range of wavelengths from X-ray to radio. The back of the poster is covered by text containing background information and some classroom activities to teach the properties of electromagnetic waves.

Grade Level - Middle-High School

Download front and back of poster (pdf)

Download a pdf file of the back of the poster, tiled into 8.5 x 11 pages for printing.

SOFIA Literature and Promotional Materials

SOFIA fact sheets and brochures can be found on the Media Portal page.

SOFIA Activity Sheet

SOFIA Bookmark

SOFIA sticker