Learning Modules for Grades 4-6

Learning Modules for Grades 4-6

4th Grade

Objective 1: Locate and identify patterns of stars and their change in location throughout the year.

Video: Show Me Science - Navigating the Constellations by TMW Media

Planetarium Topics: What are constellations? do you think that all cultures have the same constellations? Are the stars in a constellation gravitationally bound or related to each other in any way?  How do we (or ancient peoples) use constellations?  Notice how the Sun moves against the background stars.  What does this mean for what stars are in the night sky at different times of the year?

Demo: Cut out and assemble a star wheel that can be used to determine what stars are out at different times of the year and different hours of the day.

Handout: starwheel.pdf

 

Objective 2: Identify the Sun as a star.

Video: Choose from one of the following videos

  1. The Little Star that Could by Audio-Visual Imagineering
  2. Show Me Science - The Sun: Heat, Light & Life by TMW Media

Planetarium Topics:  Look around the sky.  What differences do you see in the stars?  Why might these differences in brightness and color exist?  How does the Sun compare to the other stars you see on the sky?  How hot is the Sun?  What makes stars shine?  How are stars different from planets?  Where are stars born?  How do we use star clusters to learn about stars?

Demo: Use the nadout to identify the Sun as an average star in temperature, color, brightness and size

Handout: stars.pdf

 

Objective 3: Explain the effects of alignment of the Earth, moon, and Sun on the Earth.

Video: The Moon by Bill Nye

Planetarium Topics: How does the sky move over the course of 1 day?  How does the moon move from night-to-night?  How does the shape of the moon change?  Do you see a pattern in how it changes?  Where does the moon get its light and why does the phase change?  What is meant by the terms "noon" and "midnight"?  Where is the Sun at these times?  Why do tides occur twice a day?

Demo:  Choose from one of the following demos

  1. A. Use a styrofoam ball on a stick and a light to model moon phases (your head is the Earth) and fill out the moon phase worksheet. B. Use a CD, bottle cap, string, and protractor to model the Earth-moon system and explain why eclipses are rare.
  2. Use a tide simulation video and identify spring and neap tides on a worksheet.

Handouts: moonphases.pdf, TidesWS.pdf

 

Objective 4: Describe and explain the planets' orbital paths.

Video: Choose from one of the following videos

  1. Comets & Meteors by Bill Nye
  2. Planets by Bill Nye
  3. Show Me Science - Comet: Visitor from Space by TMW Media

Planetarium Topics: Where do the planets appear in the sky?  What does this imply about the shape of the Solar System?  Why do some planets move faster and slower against the background stars?  Comets can approach the Sun from all over the sky.  What does this imply about the distribution of comets compared to planets?  How are comet orbits different from planet orbits?  When do we see comet tails?

Demo: Choose from one of the following demos

  1. A. Use orbit cards to demonstrate that planetary orbits are nearly circular whereas comet orbits are very elliptical. B. Identify on the worksheet whether the planet/comet has a nearly circular or very elliptical orbit.
  2. A. Use orbit cards to demonstrate that planetary orbits are nearly circular whereas comet orbits are very elliptical. B. Using velcro, place pictures of comets at their correct location in orbit around the Sun.

Handouts: cometorbit.pdf, comets.pdf, planetorbit.pdf

 

5th Grade

Note that there are no astronomy-related science objectives for grade 5 in WV's science policy 2520.3.  Please choose a module from the 4th or 6th grade offerings that suits your needs.

 

6th Grade

Objective 1: Recognize the phases of the moon.

Objective 2: Investigate models of Earth-moon-Sun relationships (e.g. gravity, time, tides, or eclipses).

Video: The Moon by Bill Nye

Planetarium Topics: How does the sky move over the course of 1 day?  How does the moon move from night-to-night?  How does the shape of the moon change?  Do you see a pattern in how it changes?  Where does the moon get its light and why does the phase change?  What is meant by the terms "noon" and "midnight"?  Where is the Sun at these times?  Why do tides occur twice a day?

Demo: Choose from one of the following demos

  1. A. Use a styrofoam ball on a stick and a light to model moon phases (your head is the Earth) and fill out the moon phase worksheet (note that this is slightly more complicated than the 4th grade worksheet for this activity). B. Use a CD, bottle cap, string, and protractor to model the Earth-moon system and explain why eclipses are rare.
  2. Use a tide simulation video and identify spring and neap tides on a worksheet.

Handouts: moonphases6.pdf, TidesWS.pdf

 

Objective 3: Compare the Earth's tilt and revolution to the seasonal changes.

Video: Earth's Seasons by Bill Nye

Planetarium Topics: Notice that the Sun moves against the background stars.  Why is this?  Where is the Sun at different times of the year?  How high/low does the Sun get in the sky?  Can the Sun ever be directly overhead in Buckhannon?  Does the Sun appear th change size (get larger or smaller) at different times of the year?  When the Sun is high in the sky for the northern hemisphere, where is it for the southern hemisphere?  How does the Sun appear to move at the poles?  Do you notice a correlation between the seasons and how high the Sun is in the sky?

Demo: A. Use flashlights to see how the the sunlight gets spread out or more concentrated depending on the angle that the sunlight strikes the ground.  B. Use the handout to identify the Earth's tilt as the reason for the seasons and not the distance between the Earth and Sun (the Earth's orbit is very nearly circular and the Earth is actually closest to the Sun during northern hemisphere winter).

Handout: seasons.pdf

 

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