Educational Resources for Dark Matter Day

These links provide useful educational resources to help students learn about dark matter:

Dark Matter Classroom Activities: Exploring Dark Matter

This simple classroom activity, which requires only paper plates, a pencil, a scale, and a quarter or metal washer, teaches basic concept about dark matter. The activity, offered by the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota – the site of experiments seeking to directly detect dark matter – is adapted from an exercise prepared by the Sonoma State University Education and Public Outreach Group, which develops curricula for K-12 and college classrooms.

McGraw-Hill Education: Dark Matter Interactive

This interactive galaxy-spinning tool gives you a chance to vary the amount of dark matter in a galaxy and see how it affects the orbital speed of stars. Audience: Ages 9+

Institute of Physics: Resources for the Classroom

This teaching unit, “Episode 705: Cosmology,” includes a dark matter discussion. This unit is also available as a Word DOC.

Symmetry magazine: The ABCs of Particle Physics

Symmetry magazine’s to-the-letter look at particle physics is fun for all ages. It’s also available in storybook form.

Annenberg Learner’s Physics for the 21st Century: Dark Matter

This detailed unit providing an introduction and overview on dark matter. Audience: Adult learners, including high school teachers, undergraduates, and the interested public.

CHART— Contemporary Physics Education Project: The Standard Model of Fundamental Particles and Interactions

This chart includes a description of fundamental particles and a section on “Unsolved Mysteries” that includes dark matter.

The Universe Adventure: Dark Matter

The Universe Adventure, sponsored by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Physics Division, is an educational resource that includes dark matter information. Includes teacher resources.

Additional teacher resources:

The Particle Adventure: Unsolved Mysteries—Dark Matter

A discussion on dark matter’s possible particle makeup. Also available as a mobile app.

NASA Education: What Is Dark Matter?

Audience: Ages 9-12

NASA’s Imagine the Universe: The Nature of Dark Matter

Audience: Ages 14+


NASA Space Place: Dark Matter

Audience: Elementary school-age kids.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: StarChild Guide to Dark Matter

Offers Level 1 and Level 2 discussions of dark matter.



VIDEO—PhD TV: Dark Matters

An illustrated video featuring a conversation with Daniel Whiteson and Jonathan Feng about dark matter. Also available on YouTube. Audience: Ages 9+

The Dark Side of the Universe

A set of PowerPoint presentations about dark matter prepared by Pauline Gagnon, CERN physicist and communicator. Audience: Ages 12+

American Institute of Physics: Ideas of Cosmology—The Journey Continues

The missing matter in the universe could possibly be explained by WIMPs, topological defects in space-time, or cosmic wrinkles left over from the early universe.

National Earth Science Teachers Association: Windows to the Universe—Cosmology

Includes a discussion of the unseen things in the universe. Teacher resources are available.

VIDEO—Dark Matter: NOVA scienceNOW

Host Neil deGrasse Tyson reports from a half mile underground in an abandoned mine, where scientists are using special detectors to look for evidence of a ghostly substance that they believe makes up most of the matter of the universe.

VIDEO—The Dark Matter Mystery: NOVA scienceNOW

Astronomer Doug Clowe explains how the Bullet Cluster, a group of galaxies billions of light years away, may shed some light on dark matter.

VIDEO—Dark Matter: Space PBS Nova Documentary

This 2015 PBS documentary explores dark matter’s mysteries.

VIDEO—Fermilab: The Nature of Dark Matter

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory’s Dan Hooper, a theoretical astrophysicist, explores the current status of the dark matter search and some new thoughts on the nature of this mystery.

VIDEO—World Science Festival: The Dark Side of the Universe

World Science Festival presents a dark matter discussion by a panel of scientists including researchers who smash together particles, dive into underground mines, and explore the edges of the known universe.

VIDEO—Fermilab: Jelly Bean Universe (Dark Matter/Dark Energy)

Fermilab’s Kurt Riesselmann explains how to make a jelly bean universe to help explain the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.

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