GUEST BLOGGER SUZANNE SLADE
Dark matter is everywhere!
Did you know that dark matter makes up 85% of the Universe? Yet no one can see it. But one woman, Vera Rubin, proved it exists. How? She studied swirling stars in galaxies. Vera measured the speed of those swirling stars and discovered stars in the center of a galaxy were moving at the same speed as the stars on the outside. She knew this meant something was pulling on the stars—dark matter!
Learn more about dark matter and this amazing STEM woman in the new picture book, SHINING STAR: VERA RUBIN DISCOVERS DARK MATTER.
Activity 1 – Engage and Read
Engage students by watching the picture book trailer for SHINING STAR.
Then read SHINING STAR to learn more fascinating details about how a girl who loved stars became an astronomer and made an astounding science discovery.
Activity 2 – Reflect and write
Vera Rubin loved stars. By the time she was 10 years old, she knew she wanted to be an astronomer. Ask students to write their thoughts on the following: As a girl, what did Vera do to learn more about stars?
Ask students to discuss, then write about the following:
- What are you very interested in?
- How have you learned more about, or pursued this interest?
Activity 3 – Digging deeper
As a class create a list of the obstacles Vera Rubin faced as she pursued her dream of studying stars.
Ask students to write their thoughts on the following (you may discuss the question aloud before the writing exercise): Vera Rubin faced many obstacles as a woman who wanted to study stars. How did she overcome those challenges to achieve her dream and became an astronomer?
Suzanne Slade is the Sibert Honor author of over 170 children’s books. As a mechanical engineer who worked on rockets, she ofter writes about space and women in STEM. Her newest book, SHINING STAR: VERA RUBIN DISCOVERS DARK MATTER released November 7, 2023. Other recent titles include: A COMPUTER CALLED KATHERINE: HOW KATHERINE JOHNSON HELPED PUT AMERICA ON THE MOON (NSTA Best STEM Book), THE UNIVERSE AND YOU, DARING DOZEN, COUNTDOWN: 2979 DAYS TO THE MOON, and ASTRONAUT ANNIE (Read on the Space Station).
- Find more fun, free space resources on Suzanne’s website here
- Website: suzanneslade.com
- Twitter: @AuthorSSlade
- Publisher Twitter: @astrakidsbooks