SOFIA is a very powerful astronomical observatory but it also has a very strong education section.
There are many educational materials that teachers from New Zealand can also use in their classroom. For instance, on SOFIA's page there are presentation that have been used for Educators and Students in the past and also classroom activities to learn about infrared light. You can download a great NASA Poster about the invisible light and literature and promotional materials.
Active Astronomy: Classroom Activities for Learning About Infrared Light
A set of five activities that focus on improving student understanding of infrared light.
Most students are familiar with the rainbow of colors that make up visible light. They're often less comfortable dealing with light from the other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum – gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet light, visible light, infrared light, microwaves, and radio waves. Students may not realize the important role played by non-visible light in their everyday lives. For example, TV remote controls, car-locking systems, and some grocery store check-out scanners use infrared light to signal between devices or read bar-codes. Computers use infrared light to read CD-ROMs. Night-vision goggles register infrared light (also known as heat radiation), as do search-and-rescue monitors that look for the heat given off by someone lost in the wilderness at night.
These hands-on and demonstration activities are designed to complement instruction on the electromagnetic spectrum for middle and high school students; they are not a complete curriculum. Each activity has been designed to take 1-2 class periods.
Get details and files to download Grade Level - Middle/High School
Exploring Invisible Light Activity
The temperature sensitive film (stock #72-373) is available online at Edmund Optics http://www.edmundoptics.com/testing-targets/calibration-standards/temperature-sensitive-liquid-crystal-sheets/72373
The Electromagnetic SpectrumA poster about the electromagnetic spectrum was designed by the NASA Origins Forum missions' E/PO personnel. The front of the poster is a visual-wavelength image of the Whirlpool Galaxy (Messier 51) from the Hubble Space Telescope compared with a row of images of the same galaxy at a range of wavelengths from X-ray to radio. The back of the poster is covered by text containing background information and some classroom activities to teach the properties of electromagnetic waves.
Grade Level - Middle-High School. If you would like a copy of this poster, please contact us.
Download a pdf file of the back of the poster, tiled into 8.5 x 11 pages for printing.
SOFIA Literature and Promotional Materials
SOFIA: Exploring the Infrared Universe
Partners in Science Education brochure
Infrared Astronomy: More Than Our Eyes Can See
Orion's M42 Region
Signs of Recent Starbursts in the Milky Way Galaxy’s Center
Infrared Comparison of Jupiter
SOFIA Technical flyer
SOFIA self-guided tour