How to make a telescope - school presentation handout/instruction sheets

K. Fisher Rev. 5/26/2006


The following handouts are for use by astronomy clubs in making presentations to junior high schools, elementary schools and scout clubs regarding basic telescope and hand-magnifier optics. The presentations are built around kits assembled from 2 bags of low-cost miscellaneous lenses offered by Edmund Scientifics Online. From the 2 bags of surplus lenses, typically 4 Keplerian and 7 Galilean hand-held telescopes can be assembled. These "telescopes" are packaged in easy to assemble envelopes containing two lenses each and the handouts described below. The bulk surplus lenses can be purchased from:

Edmund Scientific Online. 2006. Bag of Lenses. Product No. 3082272. Count #20 per bag. (accessed 5/2006)

Following the handouts, links to online resources, such as astronomy activity guides, optics demonstration experiments setup worksheets, Java applets to simulate optics and astronomy experiments, and imaginative single demonstration experiments with to-build projects are provided. Options are provided for educators and scout masters who are seeking plans for mailing tube refractors to build as a class project.

The handouts

Completed kits for the Galilean and Keplerian telescopes

One kit envelope with lenses
Figure 1 - One kit envelope
11 kits assembled from two bags of surplus lenses
Figure 2 - 11 kits from two bags of surplus lenses
Presenter kit - all presenter materials ready for travel packing in a plastic file box
Figure 3 - Presenters kit - all presenter materials ready for travel packing in a plastic file box (except yardsticks)

Learning goals covered by the handouts

Other websites with similar content - Astronomy education presentations/activities for elementary, middle and high-school aged students

Principal sources

Edmund Scientific. 2001. Popular Optics. Edmund Pub. No. 30094-45.

Watson, Fred. 2005. Stargazer: The Life and Times of the Telescope. De Capo Press. ISBN: 0306814323

Knap, Robert (Vanderbuilt Univ.) 2005. Measuring Angular Distances. Webpage for Astronomy 103, Spring, 2006. accessed 5/2006

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Any original materials on this website to the extent that copyright is held by this author, including the handouts, are released to public domain. Astronomy clubs and educators are encouraged to freely replicate this site.

Prepared by: K. Fisher 5/2006