Activities for Everyone
Can you hear the gravitational wave signal of two black holes colliding? (Cardiff University, Universities of Birmingham, Glasgow and Southampton in the UK in collaboration with the Albert Einstein Institute and Milde Marketing in Germany)
You are the principal investigator (PI) of an interferometric gravitational wave observatory like LIGO. You select the location for your detector and design it to fit within the budget for your project. At the end of the game, you turn on your detector and look for gravitational waves. The deeper into space you can detect gravitational waves, the higher your score (and you can compare your score against others' high scores). (Gwoptics group at the University of Birmingham, UK)
This is a new take on the classic game "Pong" except instead of paddles, you use black holes to gravitationally move and sling a mass into your opponent's half of the screen. Every time the mass enters your opponent's space, you score a point. You can even use your Xbox controllers! (Gwoptics group at the University of Birmingham, UK)
The goal of this strategy game is to shoot your opponent's spacecraft on the opposite side of the screen. However, there are planets in between that attract your projectile gravitationally (they warp space-time) deflecting it from a straight path (the game name of Slingshot refers to the fact that stars, planets and moons can be used as a gravitational slingshot to speed up spacecrafts or other masses - NASA used this to get the astronauts from Apollo 13 back to Earth when they were low on fuel). The strategy is to account for these deflections and still destroy your opponent's spacecraft. This 2 player game can be very addictive! (RIT Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation)
The printable LIGO Word Search
Take the controls of a virtual gravitational wave interferometer. (American Museum of Natural History)
An up-close view of LIGO's facilities. (American Museum of Natural History)
Learn more about the physics of gravitational waves via an analogy with sound. Gravitational-wave signals can be converted into sound files and played back on speakers or headphones. This site explores gravitational-wave "sounds" from different sources and events detected by LIGO.
Activities for the Classroom
(By the Sonoma State University Educational and Public Outreach group)
Educator's guide on first detection of gravitational waves
This Educator’s Guide on the "Direct Observation of Gravitational Waves" was issued on 2/11/16 as part of the public materials that accompanied the announcement of LIGO’s discovery of the first gravitational-wave event. It is suitable for grades 6 and higher and includes classroom demonstration activities that are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.
Online courses on LIGO and gravitational waves
Two online courses were developed by the SSU EPO group: "LIGO: Waves and Gravity" and "LIGO: Detecting Gravitational Waves." The first discusses the physics of gravity and gravitational waves, as well as the astrophysics of gravitational wave sources. The second course covers the detection of gravitational waves, including noise sources and the first direct detection by LIGO.
(By The Pennsylvania State University)
for Signal in the Noise: a Gravitational Wave Icebreaker Activity
LIGO scientists must analyze noisy data in order to discover the 'signal' -- the faint patterns of gravitational waves. In this activity students will search for the evidence of simulated gravitational waves in noisy data sets. Although the activity's discussion centers on the science of gravitational waves, the method of data analysis that the students will encounter is used across the sciences.
Gravitational Wave Astronomy: Extracting Astrophysical Information from
In this activity students will extract information related to the mass and distance of an astrophysical source by using plots of simulated gravitational wave signals. The process that the students will undertake mimics the way that real gravitational wave analysis occurs.
This interactive laboratory for teachers and students makes LIGO seismometer data available for investigations via the Web. Find other I2U2 resources from the project's main page.
Interferometers in the Classroom
Build an Inexpensive Working Michelson Interferometer
Build a working, small scale interferometer with easily attainable components (like a laser pointer) for under $150.