
Here are descriptions of three classroom activities that relate to gravitational wave science. Follow the links in the descriptions for the full documentation and handouts for each activity. A Model Michelson Interferometer LIGO thanks NASA's Space Place and Diane Fisher at http://spaceplace.nasa.gov for the concept on which this activity is based. NASA provides a classroom activity featuring a LISAtype interferometer. Developed and hosted by LIGO Hanford Observatory at http://www.ligowa.caltech.edu/activities.html Level: High school students Searching for Gravitational Waves in Noisy Data Developed by the Pennsylvania State University Center for Gravitaional Wave Physics in collaboration with the LIGO Laboratory. Hosted by the CGWP, http://cgwp.gravity.psu.edu/outreach/activities/ Level: All high school students Science theme: Data analysis Time required: One period or less Movie connections: Minutes 1, 5, 6, 11,13, 17 Students take on the role of LIGO data analysts to Ontology examine plots of several noisy sets of simulated interferometer data. From a number of possibilities, students choose the data set that appears to match most closely an idealized, noiseless gravitational wave template. The templates are actual waveforms that different types of astrophysical sources might produce. The analysis technique that the activity illustrates is called “matched filtering” and is one of several search methods applied to LIGO data. Teacher preparation: Teachers will need to download and print the data plots and the template plots. The data plots should be printed on transparency sheets. Extracting Astrophysical Information from Simulated GravitationalWave Signals Developed by the Pennsylvania State University Center for Gravitaional Wave Physics in collaboration with the LIGO Laboratory. Hosted by the CGWP, http://cgwp.gravity.psu.edu/outreach/activities/ Level: Advanced high school students Science themes: Data analysis, gravitation, wave behavior, scientific modeling. Time required: Two class periods Movie connections: Minutes 2, 4, 5, 9, 14 This activity builds on the outcomes of “Searching for ProChain Gravitational Waves in Noisy Data.” Students measure values of gravitational wave periods and amplitudes from several plots of simulated signals. These signals might come from a binary pair of neutron stars, initially far from coalescence, then immediately before coalescence. Algebraic manipulation of the measured values in a set of equations will yield parameters of the binary source such as its distance, orbital period and “chirp mass.” Teacher preparation: Teachers will need to download and print the plots. Students need access to the relevant equations.

