Published on July 2, 2009
The Sequence Has Two Parts 3-5th grade – 20 class sessions over four units: UNIT 1: How Big and How Far? UNIT 2: Earth’s Shape and Gravity UNIT 3: How Does the Earth Move? UNIT 4: Moon Phases and Eclipses 6-8th grade – 30 class sessions over four units UNIT 1: How does the Sun Affect Earth? UNIT 2: Why Are There Seasons? UNIT 3: What is the Solar System? UNIT 4: What is Beyond the Solar System?
Unit 1: How Big and How Far?
Unit 2: Earth’s Shape and Gravity
Unit 3: How Does the Earth Move?
Unit 4: Moon Phases and Eclipses
Shadow Play • Put your finger into the shadow of the sphere. • On your paper, shade in every place that the sphere makes dark on the paper, on itself, and in the air next to it. • Label where it is light on the drawing of the sphere. • Label where it is dark on the drawing of the sphere.
Post on Concept Wall: A shadow is a dark area where light is blocked by an object. Shadows are actually three-dimensional. We can see the shadow cast by one object on another object. The shadow begins on the dark side of the object that is blocking the light.
Common Misconceptions About Shadows • Shadows are independent of the objects causing them. • A shadow is only the dark shape cast by one object on another object. • Shadows are the reflections of objects. • Shadows are dark light.
W h a t O n e Te a c h e r S a id “We were able to observe the Moon during the day for three days in a row. This was one of the highlights for the students. They love going outdoors and being ‘scientists.’ This also made the whole unit meaningful to students.”
Post on Concept Wall: The Moon can be seen sometimes at night and sometimes during the day. The shape of the Moon as we see it changes from day to day in a cycle that lasts about a month. The changes in the way the Moon looks are called phases. Some of the Moon’s phases are new, crescent, quarter, gibbous, and full.
W h a t O n e Te a c h e r S a id “It was great to see the students truly understand that the Moon does not change size. I was shocked to realize that they actually thought it did!”
Post on Concept Wall: Scientists use models to understand and explain how things work. Every model is inaccurate in some way. A model can be an explanation in your mind. Evidence is information, such as measurements or information, that is used to help explain things. Scientists base their explanations on evidence. Scientists question, discuss, and check each other’s evidence and explanations.
Post on Concept Wall: The Moon seems to change shape from day to day, but it is always round like a sphere. It takes the Moon about a month to orbit the Earth once. Phases of the Moon are not caused by Earth’s shadow. Our changing view of sunlight shining on the Moon is what makes the Moon seem to change shape. The Sun, Earth, and Moon form a system.
Evidence Circle procedure: 1. One student says what he thinks, and the reasons why. 2. Other students who agree add their reasons. 3. Then, each student who disagrees says why, and presents her reasons. 4. The group members discuss with one another to see if they can come to agreement. If no one disagrees, they can talk about all the evidence that makes them all convinced of their view.
Common Misconceptions About Moon Phases • The shape of the Moon always appears the same. • The Moon can only be seen at night. • The phases of the Moon are caused by the shadow of the Earth on the Moon. • The phases of the Moon are caused by clouds. • The phases of the Moon are caused by the Moon moving into the Sun’s shadow. • The phases of the Moon are caused by shadows cast on its surface by other objects in the Solar System.
Common Misconceptions About Solar Eclipses • A solar eclipse can be seen from anywhere facing the Sun. • It’s more dangerous to look at the Sun during an eclipse.
Post on Concept Wall: We see an eclipse of the Sun when the Moon goes in front of the Sun. This is called a Solar Eclipse.
Common Misconceptions About Lunar Eclipses • Every new moon is a lunar eclipse. • The Moon is completely invisible during a lunar eclipse. • It is dangerous to look at a lunar eclipse.
Post on Concept Wall: We see an eclipse of the Moon when the Moon goes into the Earth’s shadow. This is called a Lunar Eclipse.
Four Impossible Missions to the Moon and Sun Whoever designed the four missions below does not understand Moon phases or eclipses. Write on the Lines below what is wrong with each mission, and explain why it is wrong. There may be more than one wrong thing with each mission.
• Our mission is to land on the Moon. We can’t land during the new moon, because that is when the Moon is gone. • If we land when it is a crescent moon, we can explore the Moon very quickly, because it will be so small. • Each day while exploring on the Moon, we will pass into the Earth’s shadow, and it will be night. • We will land on the Sun during an eclipse of the Sun, so it won’t be so hot there.
Evaluation Study • Significant gains in student achievement on all units. • Gains were on both multiple choice and short answer questions.
Student Gains on Pre-Post Tests in the 3-5 Sequence 90 80 70 60 50 pre-test 40 post-test 30 20 10 0 Unit 1 Unit 2 Unit 3 Unit 4
3-5 SSS Unit 4 related resources • Total Eclipse DVD • NASA’s “Mr. Eclipse” Website: http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/eclipse.html • NASA’s SECEF 2006 Solar Eclipse Website: http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/2006/educators/index.php • Exploratorium’s Eclipse Website: http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse • Interactive simulations of solar and lunar eclipses and moon phases: http://www.forgefx.com/casestudies/prenticehall • NASA Missions studying the Sun (using an artifical eclipse): ● SOHO: http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/ ● STEREO: http://stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov/ • NASA Missions studying the Moon: ● LRO: http://lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov/ ● LCROSS: http://lcross.arc.nasa.gov/ • Shedding Light on Science professional development series, featuring first two videos “Shine and Shadow” and “Laws of Light” - http://www.learner.org/channel/workshops/sheddinglight/
W h a t O n e T e a c h e r S a id a b o u t t h e e n t ir e s e q u e n c e “They have really progressed through this curriculum from spectators in the beginning to active participants in their learning. Their curiosity has grown by leaps and bounds, and their questions are very deep and difficult to answer.”
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