Earth & Space Sciences SC12.4.1 - Students will investigate and describe the known universe.

Hubble Image: Eagle Nebula

6-8 Standards

SC8.4.1.a Describe the components of the solar system (The Sun, planets, moons, asteroids, comets)

SC8.4.1.b Describe the relationship between motion of objects in the solar system and the phenomena of day, year, eclipses, phases of the Moon and seasons.

SC8.4.1.c Describe the effects of gravity on Earth(tides) and the effect of gravity on objects in the solar system.

  • Notes
  • Labs:
    • This lab is a computer based lab. It turns your computer into a planetarium that you control. No more hoping the guide will take you where you want to go. Takes some guidance getting used to, but well worth the front end time. Can be adapted to MANY levels.
    • This lab is a modeling activity that will force students to address misconceptions. You may want to adapt the data collection section. I've never really been happy with how it works, but it works well enough, for now.
    • This lab can be done using Gizmos or other moon phases modeling sites. If you don't have Gizmos, try this site: NSO Moon Phases
      • When using the NSO site, in order to address eclipses, more than the web page will be needed. Try modeling with a "moon" on a stick and a spot light, or use the Class Action webpage. (I don't care for the Class action page as much because it is incredibly "click"tastic, but you gotta do what you gotta do!
      • Class Action Animations
      • This is the diagram for the lab, you may want to make your own, but this one does work relatively well.
      • Fun vid:
      • Demo/Kinesthetic activity: This is authored by Gene Williamson
        • "No diagram or visual, but I used to get kids to understand how this worked by having them act it out. Place an object (perhaps a second kid) 10-15 feet from the kid representing the Earth (observer). Have the observer point at the Moon. Then have the observer slowly turn through 360 degrees (24 hrs) until he is again pointing to where the Moon was. While the observer rotates have the "Moon" move about 12 degree in the same direction that the observer is rotating. When the observer comes to the end of the 24 hour rotation, he/she will find that the Moon is roughly 50 minutes ahead and the observer must rotate an additional 12 degrees or 50 minutes before the Moon is again in view.
        • I actually used this to explain why tides occur 50 minutes later each day, but the model works for either observation. Just between you, me, and the fencepost, getting the kids to walk through the process was a lot more of an aha! moment than any visual or diagram, and consequently they understood and remembered better.
        • Extension questions: What happens if the Moon revolves in the opposite direction? (50 minutes earlier)"

    • An activity on size and scale.

  • Alternative Labs/Notes I've used that may be worth you trying!
    • Notes on the history of Astronomy and some of the astronomers responsible for the discoveries.
    • A lab to play with mass and distance. Explores nebular theory. I use this one with my high schoolers, but could also be used for middle school. For the high school standard, we focus on the nebular theory part. (Note, this lab was EASILY adapted to an inquiry or modeling type of lab from a similar cookbook lab. We just ask the questions, "How are gravity and mass related? How are gravity and distance related? Which one matters more?" Then give them materials and let them play.)
    • Animation to go with the PHET site, (also available in HTML format for tablet devices):
Gravity Force Lab
Click to Run

    • A lab to get students to understand the 3D aspect of space vs. what we see on the celestial sphere.
      • The star field template Second version, better maybe?:
      • The measurements of the star podiums from base to the top of wood dowel: A = 24cm, B = 22cm, C = 12cm, D = 15.1cm, E= 19.5 cm, F = 7.6cm, G = 6.9cm
      • Star podiums were a wooden dowel cut into disks, then drilled. The support dowel was then glued into that hole and the puff ball added with hot glue. Be careful of the glue used to put the disk onto the dowel, you don't want it leaking out or the podiums will tip.
    • This one is a simple one for distance between the planets. It is good because you can really address misconceptions easily and students get the chance for an "aha" moment. There is also fun involved when you pass around the adding tape and tell them to, "take as much as you need." (How much DO I need?) And each student ends up with a different sized scale model. Super cool.

9-12 Standards

SC12.4.1.a - Describe the formation of the universe using the Big Bang Theory

  • We explore light and red shift for this in my class.
  • Galaxies would be a stretch, but they could work for this! I know that galaxies aren't a perfect fit here, but standards are meant to drive 75% of our curriculum (I know, right!?), so I figure it counts! A great website for students to explore this and other astronomy topics while analyzing real time data (crowd-sourcing) is Zoouniverse. Students can analyze galaxy classifications, look for extraterrestrial moons, measure solar flares, and all SORTS of COOL stuff. (I am totally addicted to this site!)
  • After playing on the Galaxy Zoo Hubble part of Zoouniverse, we used this file as an assessment tool.
  • Notes for Galaxies:
  • Notes for Big Bang:
  • Spectroscopy and Red shift lab:
  • Video describing the known universe:
  • Video describing how we know distances, and more on red shift/Doppler effect:

SC 12.4.1.b - Recognize that stars, like the Sun, transform matter into energy by nuclear reations which leads to the formation of other elements.

  • This is another point of entry into the Zoouniverse site. We analyzed solar flares to determine the ETA of solar flares. Structured like a game, it appeals to the teenage set, however it can be challenging to navigate for digital immigrants.

SC12.4.c - Describe stellar evolution.

  • Notes: Same info, but in a PREZI!!!!
  • Game: I printed these, added cardstock as a backing, then laminated each card. Cards are then shuffled, and students are given one card. They must then find their match and line up in the correct order for the star cycle. You can also adapt this game to an "I have , who has _" type game.
  • Assignment/Assessment: Great for use with these free websites (Prezi) (Bubbl). Students do need to sign up in order to save assignments, but if your school doesn't have Inspiration, then this is the next best thing.
  • An updated They Might Be Giants "Sun song." May be more accurate, but not as fun in my book!

The GOOD one!: