Our Stars

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SWBAT observe and communicate how the stars are in the sky both day and night.

Big Idea

Twinkle, twinkle little star how I wonder where you are during the day? Students will investigate these stars at night and what happens during the day.

Setting the Stage:

National Science Education Science Standards Connection:

The National Science Education Standards has said that making observations is key to inquiry-based and discovery-focused learning in science instruction. In order to do this students participate in inquiry-based learning that allows them to solve a problem in science through observation, discourse and using a science journal. Students will then be give a chance to share their findings with their peers and then reflect on their own understanding.

Next Generation Science Standards Connection:

In this lesson students will be introduced to the earth. 1-ESS1-1 asks students to use observations to explore the predictable patterns of our moon, sun and stars. In this lesson students will observe the predictable patters of our stars.

Home-School Connection:

We will be learning about the sun, the stars and moon. The NGSS asks that students to observe, describe and predict how the sun and moon changes over a period of time. I send home two science bags that will allow students to observe the night sky.

The Sun Bag: In order for students to observe the changes of our sunset, each day a different student takes home our Sun Bag that includes a Sunset Observations sheet, The Sun: Our Nearest Star by Franklyn M. Branley, a box of crayons and a parent letter. Students record his/her findings on our class Sunset Calendar. We observe the sun for a full month so that we can observe, describe and predict the sunset changes.

The Moon Bag: In order for students to observe the change of the moon, each day a different student takes home our Moon Bag which includes a Moon Observation Form (black paper), The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons, white crayons and a parent letter. Then students record his/her findings on our class Moon Phases Calendar. We observe the moon for a full month so that we can observe, describe and predict the changes it goes through in one full cycle. If the moon is not visible that student will record the night sky and then the next day we will predict what it would have looked like had it been seen.

Classroom Structures:

In order to support a high level of student discourse within my science lessons I have assigned two different student partnerships.  Turn and Talk Partners are discourse partners that work together to share the deep thinking that happens throughout the day.  Workshop Partners are partners who are matched together for the purpose of working during our independent times.  In this lesson students will be engaged in both partnerships.


Outer Space: "I'm a Star!" The Star Song by StoryBots

KWL Chart - Do stars have predictable patterns?

Star Observation T-Chart

Photographs of day and night sky

The Stars Spin in the Earth Sky

The Day and Night Sky Timelapses

Star Observation T-Chart 

Scholastic BookFLIX - Earth and Sky: Stars, Stars, Stars by Bob Barner & Looking Through a Telescope by Linda Bullock.

Science Journal - Prompt: Do the stars have patterns that repeat?

**See Art Extension for art materials


15 minutes

The NGSS standards ask that students make observations of the sun, moon and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted. I want my students to discover the stars are in the sky both day and night. During the day our star, the sun, makes our sky so bright that we cannot see the much dimmer stars. I develop a culture that encourages student engagement, curiosity and a desire to understand the world through scientific exploration by activating prior knowledge for my young students with this fun video about the stars.


After the video I show my students a photograph of our night sky.  I ask my students to turn and tell their partners what they already know about the stars. My students say things like: 

*The sun is a star.

*A star is a gas.

*The stars are out at night.

I show my students our KLEWS anchor chart: Do stars have predictable patterns and I ask my students if they have any questions about stars. I give my students a few minutes of think time and then after most of my students have given me a thumbs up, I ask them to share their wonderings whole group. Then I ask my students to share any new wonderings with their turn and talk partners. After a few minutes I give each child a sticky note and ask them to write down their question and stick it on our KLEWS anchor chart under "W" - What we are still wondering.


25 minutes

The NGSS asks that students obtain, evaluate, and communicate information by building on prior experiences and using observations and texts to communicate new information. In this lesson I restate our question for my students to investigate: Do the stars have predictable patterns?  If this question is not already on a sticky note write this question on my own sticky note and place it under W-What we still want to know.  For this lesson as student wrote Investigation Question so I used this to start our investigation: Do the star constellations have patterns?

First I show my students two videos:

Night Sky

Day Sky

After we watching the video we have a science discussion about our observations. I ask students to share what they noticed.

I pass out photographs of our day and night sky and ask my students to observe these photographs closely.  I ask them to cut out and glue these photos on their t-charts and write what they notice on the same T-chart worksheet.  Next they glue these t-charts into their science journals.


10 minutes

The NGSS asks that students obtain, evaluate, and communicate information.  In this section students communicate their observations and I record their finding on the L-What we Learned column of our KWL chart.

I record: You can see the stars at night but not during the day.

The NGSS does not require students to understand why you cannot see the stars during day however this is a very simple concept for young children to understand and communicate. Using what we already know about our day and night sky, what happens to the stars during the day?

I give my students a few minutes to think about what they already know. It is important for students to have think time before sharing. Once they have an idea they give me a thumbs up signalling that they are ready to share.  I then ask my students to communicate their ideas with their turn and talk partners. As the students share I listen in on conversations and then bring the group back together and I share what I heard them say. 


The stars can't be seen behind the clouds.

The sun makes the stars hard to see because our sun is so bright.

You can't see the stars because of the sun.

I write this on our KLEWS anchor under Evidence: The sun is bright during the day.

Boys and girls you said, "The stars are hiding behind the clouds.  If the clouds disappear can you see the stars? Can we come up with one explanation as to why we cannot see the stars during the day? Which makes the most sense to you?

On our anchor chart under Learn - What we are learning, we record: The sun makes the stars hard to see because our sun is so bright and it is our closest star.


10 minutes

The ELA Common Core standards ask students to explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types. Scholastic BookFLIX is a great resource for allowing students to view books side by side that are fiction and nonfiction about the same topic.  The books I have chosen for my students to view are Stars, Stars, Stars by Bob Barner and Looking Through a Telescope by Linda Bullock.

**If you don't have access to BookFLIX you can still use these books from your local library.

After students view the books we create a Venn-Diagram to compare the information from each book.


5 minutes

The Science and Engineering Practice 4 asks students to analyze data. At the K-2 level this involves students collecting, recording, and sharing observations. In this lesson the students are recording information, thoughts and ideas in their science journals. I send my students back to their science journals and ask them to write the answer to our big question: "Do the stars have patterns that repeat? If so tell me."

As the students write I tell them to refer back to the research we did today. I am looking for answers like, "The stars are always there but you can only see them at night." This formative assessment gives me insight on the learning that is taking place.

Art Extension:

45 minutes

I begin this art lesson by introducing my students to Vincent Van Gogh using a book written by Adam G. Klein.

After the read aloud we review the work Impressionism. I tell my students that Impressionism is a style of painting that began in the 1800s in Paris, France. We add the word Impressionism with a photo of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Sky to our Social Studies timeline.  The Impressionist in Paris did their paintings outside so many of the art work was of trees, fields, flowers, oceans and other nature scenes. They would take their paints outside and paint what they saw. The pictures didn't look realistic because the artists would use thick short strokes. I show my students pictures of some of Vincent Van Gogh's work from the book Vincent van Gogh and the colors of the wind.

I show my students the picture of The Starry Night and say, Vincent Van Gogh was on a hill at night painting this picture of the Starry Night. 

In this lesson students will use oil pastels to create the crescent moon and the swirls of the stars.

I am careful to do this art project in short steps.  I model how to create the moon, then they do it at their tables. I repeat this patter through the whole lesson.  This allows me to model how to make fat, short lines to create the circles around stars and color around the moon.

While the students work I play this video of Vincent Van Gogh's work.

 We take blue water color and paint over our pictures and then place them on the drying rack to dry.