Modeling Gamma Ray Data and Analysis

Contact Information:

  • Matt Laird. Email:
  • Heather Murphy. Email:


The HAWC Cooperative has provided the public with accurate Gamma-ray data, but what would a scientist do with this data? This lesson plan is designed to mimic the procedures for data analysis conducted by scientist in the field of Gamma-ray astronomy. Students will download, manipulate, and interpret the data using free software by following these steps by step instructions. For the personal challenge the students will look at the data acquired on their birthday and determine if there was a Gamma-ray burst (fire works show) for them that year. Real data and Real analysis!

Lesson Content Overview:

  • Elaborate (2-3 days): Students will go through the steps of downloading, formatting, manipulating, plotting and analyzing data from the HAWC Observatory. This data will show the student how much Gamma Ray activity was present on their Birthday in 2015.

Connections to Prior Learning:

Supporting Material:

Modeling Gamma Ray Data – Lesson Plan

Resource – Student Handout

Resource – Example Spreadsheet

Resource – Light Curve Data from 07-19

Resource – Light Curve Data from 07-19 with Step 1 Complete

About the Team:

Petra Huentemeyer, PhD (, Professor, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI


Henrike Fleischhack, PhD (, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Germany


Xiaojie Wang, PhD (, Post-Doctorate, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI


Katelyn McCarthy (, Teacher, Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center, Kalamazoo, MI


Matt Laird (, Instructor, Gogebic Community College, Houghton, MI


Heather Murphy (, Teacher, Hancock High School, Hancock, MI


Tamala Sebring (, Teacher, Pittsfield High School, Pittsfield, MA

Interested in Joining?

The call for applications to participate in this RET will be posted in the fall.


Check back here or contact Petra Huentemeyer for more information.