5th Grade Indicator Activity
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  • 1. Stargazing By Lynsey Wilkie September 30, 2009
  • 2. Science Standard 3- The Physical Setting
    • Indicator 5.3.3- Observe the stars and identify stars that are unusually bright and those that have unusual colors, such as reddish or bluish.
    • Taken from- http://dc.doe.in.gov/Standards/AcademicStandards/StandardSearch.aspx
    • http://school.discoveryeducation.com/lessonplans/programs/stargazing/
    • Link to Activity-http://www.indianastandardsresources.org/files/sci/sci_5_3_starlight.pdf
  • 3. Definitions
    • Atmosphere- The envelope of gasses surrounding any celestial body
    • Celestial- Of or relating to the night sky
    • Orbit- The path described by one celestial body in its revolution about another
    • Pulsar- A young neutron star that produces beams of radiation from its magnetic poles
    • Solar System- The sun with the celestial bodies that revolve around it in its gravitational field
    • Supernova- The death explosion of a massive star, resulting in a sharp increase in brightness
    Taken from: http://school.discoveryeducation.com/lessonplans/programs/stargazing/
  • 4. Materials
    • Make sure that the weather forecast will be nice for star gazing
    • Pencil
    • Crayons or colored pencils
    • Paper
    • Pencils
    • Scissors
    • Glue or tape
    • Magazines and handouts with pictures of various stars, planets, and celestial bodies
    • White construction paper, one piece per student
    • Astronomy texts and encyclopedias
    • Computer with Internet access
    • Stargazing movie
  • 5. Pre-Activity Discussion
    • Why do we not see the sun at night when we see many other stars at night?
      • The sun is closer to the Earth than other stars
      • At night the Earth rotates away from us so we can’t see it
    • What do you notice about the stars at night?
      • Color
      • Shape
      • Size
      • Brightness
    • Talking about the Milky Way galaxy and our solar system
    • Have students identify the planets in our solar system and talk about the characteristics of each planet
      • What makes Earth different from other planets?
    • Discuss the various stars and other celestial bodies found in our galaxy.
    • Introduce this topic is to view segments of the Stargazing video or DVD.
  • 6. Procedure
    • Tell students that they will observe the night sky
      • They will have to look closely at the stars and write down their observations
    • Spilt students into groups of 3 or 4
      • Have students discuss what the observed about the stars
    • After watching the program and discussing their observations, tell students that they will pretend to be astronauts who have just returned from a journey across our galaxy
    • In that role, they will create journals that document what they saw in outer space.
    • Their journals must be descriptive and creative
    • Each journal should be a minimum of 3 pages
      • They must collect facts, by using library references and other texts, the Internet, or other research material
  • 7. Product
    • This is an example of what a students journal cover might look like
  • 8. Procedure
    • When students have finished writing have them decorate sheets of white construction paper with drawings or photographs of planets, stars, and/or celestial objects.
    • Have students fold these collages in half and "bind" their journal entries inside.
    • Allow volunteers to read parts of their journals aloud to the class.
    • Monitor each group’s discussion and ask students questions such as:
      • Did you notice any stars that were unusually bright?
      • Why do you think stars appear to have different colors?
  • 9. Activity Discussion
    • Discuss with students that how bright a star looks to us depends on its magnitude, or brightness, and its distance from Earth.
    • Discuss with students how the color of a star is due to its surface temperature.
      • Blue stars have the hottest surface temperatures, while red stars have the coolest.
    • Ask students to list a characteristic of each planet
    • Ask students to describe and compare different types of celestial bodies found in our galaxy
  • 10. Resources
    • Activity
    • http://dc.doe.in.gov/Standards/AcademicStandards/StandardSearch.aspx
    • http://www.indianastandardsresources.org/files/sci/sci_5_3_starlight.pdf
    • Journal Example
    • http://chesterfield.k12.va.us/Schools/Hening_ES/Mariaweb/artsonia%20work/ShawnScholl.JPG