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The Astronomy Book, Lesson 3

How big is the universe?

by Dr. Jonathan Henry on January 1, 2002

These lessons are geared for younger students. Many lessons will, however, include activities for the older student.


These lessons are geared for younger students. Many lessons will, however, include activities for the older student. Parents/teachers will easily find the answers to questions in the text, and should prepare themselves by reading the stated pages prior to having the student read the weekly assignment. If a child is not able to read yet, parents may wish to read the text to the student.


  • Pages 8–12


  • Jeremiah 31:37

Questions to answer:

  1. What does a “light year” measure?
  2. What is the maximum distance for detecting parallax?
  3. How do astronomers estimate distances for stars farther than 300 light-years?
  4. How far away are quasars?
  5. Make up a sentence using the first letter of each planet in order of its distance from the sun (see p. 12 for the list). This would be an easy way to remember the order!
  6. Why is Mars called “The Red Planet”?


Students should learn the facts found on pages 12–13.

Parents/teachers could make a board game out of these facts, allowing a certain number of squares for each question.* For instance, a question such as “What planet is closest to the Sun?” could have two points, and the player would move two squares on the board.

Put each question (or fact) on a separate card—use 3x5 cards cut in 1 ½ inch strips. Some cards could have a “free pass” for two squares written on them. Use your imagination. First to go around the board, wins.

To make the board: Cut a 12x12 inch square out of a piece of poster board, or cardboard box. Around the edge, mark off one-inch squares. You can have the student(s) color the squares various colors. Use five or six colors, and vary them. Have students draw something in the center that has to do with our solar system. Have fun!

*Suggested questions from the “facts” pages:

  • How many galaxies are estimated to be in the universe?
  • Which planet is closest to the Sun?
  • Which planet is farthest from the Sun?
  • What is the average number of stars per galaxy?

Get the idea? Now, make up your own!


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