Sun Facts (Part 1 of 2)

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SWBAT perform operations using scientific notation in a scientific context.

Big Idea

Students use real data about our Sun to apply their knowledge of scientific notation.


12 minutes

At the start of class I hand out the SCIENTIFIC NOTATION SPACE CHART and I ask students to work independently until they have completed the chart. I encourage them to work without a calculator. Once they are finished, I ask them to compare their answers and discuss any differing answers with their elbow partners to identify mistakes. As they do this, I walk around making sure students are on task as they apply the knowledge they acquired during this unit. 

To complete this warmup, I project the chart on the whiteboard. I ask volunteers to write their answers in the boxes until the chart is completed. 



35 minutes

In this section, I ask students to practice what they've learned in previous lessons using facts about the Sun. The Activity is organized in a Math Stations Format. The students travel around 8 stations in pairs or trios and solve the Sun Fact problem at each station. 


  1. I print the 8 problems in the Resource SUN FACTS CARDS. I paste each printout on a different color piece of construction paper. These can be kept for use with another class.
  2. I set up 8 stations around the room. Each station should have a table with a Sun Fact Card and three chairs around it so that the members of each group can sit and solve the problem. Calculators will not be allowed. Each student should have paper and pencil to work with. Despite working in groups, all members should do their own work, comparing and discussing answers along the way. Each student must hand in their work at the end of the lesson.
  3. I identify 8 groups of pairs or trios. Choose students with similar comprehension and speed levels, to avoid having a student simply tagging along and not really doing the required work. 
  4. Each group must sit at a station, solve the corresponding problem there, and wait for the teacher to loudly say. "SWITCH" Each group will then take their pencils and papers to the next station number and read and solve the problem there.
  5. I allow students four minutes at each station. If a group cannot finish a problem, I ask them to move to the next station anyhow. They will have a few minutes at the end to go back to their unfinished problem.
  6. Once all eight stations are visited by each group, I ask students to return to their seats. I project all eight problems on the board using THE SUN FACTS PROBLEMS SHEET. I give the students a couple of minutes to complete any unfinished problem. 


5 minutes

To end this the lesson, I use the "So What’s Up With ??" closing strategy.  I ask students to raise questions about something they either were unsure about or need clarification. This can be done orally or by asking students to write their questions on a note card. Since this is a five minute closure section, I will do it orally today.

As I respond to questions, I demonstrate the questions on the board and I make the needed clarifications for all to see. 


If I have one or more students who master everything with respect to exponents, I ask students to research situations when it would not make sense to use scientific notation. I encourage these students to share their findings with the entire class.