Star in a Box

Have you ever wondered what happens to the different stars in the night sky as they get older? This activity lets you explore the life-cycle of stars.

Interactive life-cycle

Star in a Box is an interactive webapp which animates stars with different starting masses as they change during their lives. Some stars live fast-paced, dramatic lives, others change very little for billions of years. The webapp visualises the changes in mass, size, brightness and temperature for all these different stages.

Classroom resources

Are you a teacher? Do you want to use Star in a Box in your classroom lessons? These resources are designed to help you to explore the life-cycle of stars with your class.

Life-cycle of stars (teacher presentation)PowerpointPDF
Beginners level worksheetworksheetsolutions
Intermediate level worksheetworksheetsolutions

UK Curriculum

A-level
Instructions and summaryWord
Lifecycle of stars presentationPowerpoint
Student worksheetworksheetanswers
GCSE
Instructions and summaryWord
Lifecycle of stars presentationPowerpoint
Student worksheetworksheetanswers

Further reading

If you would like to know more about how stars evolve, why not take a look at our SpaceBook pages about the life-cycle of stars.

Acknowledgments

UK curriculum activities written by Megan Davies, in association with Cardiff University. Web app developed by Jon Yardley, Stuart Lowe and Edward Gomez.

Activity time: 
30 minutes or less
Objectives: 
  • Describe the relationship between a star's mass and its life span
  • State that stars above a certain mass end their lives in a supernova
  • Name the stages of a star's life-cycle, in order, for several masses of star.
  • Describe the relationship between a star's mass, its age, and its position on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram