How Does the Moon Get its Light?

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Objective

SWBAT identify how the moon gets its light from an external light source, the sun.

Big Idea

The moon gets its light from the sun! Come and explore how the moon reflects the sun's light!

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 objects in the sky. 1-ESS1-1 asks students to use observations to explore the predictable patterns of our moon, sun and stars.  The Next Generation Standards also asks that students themselves carry out investigation and use first hand observations.  In this lesson students will be investigating how the moon reflects the sun's light.

Home to 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 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.

Materials:

Investigation Worksheet

Close Read: clipboards, pencils,  Close Reading Guide

Access to a Internet for article

Styrofoam ball on a stick

Flashlight

Science Journals:  I just use blank paper in my journals so my students have space and freedom to experiment with graphic organizers, illustrations, etc.

Science Journal Prompt: How does the moon glow?

 

Engage:

15 minutes

The Science and Engineering Practice 1 requires students to ask questions and define problems.  Science begins with questioning and allows for curiosity to drive the learning in the classroom. The NGSS states:

The actual doing of science or engineering can pique students’ curiosity, capture their interest, and motivate their continued study; the insights thus gained help them recognize that the work of scientists and engineers is a creative endeavor.

Young children are naturals at asking questions in science. In our earlier lesson the students developed a bunch of wonderings about the moon and its patterns and we placed those questions on our KLEWS chart. In order to make the learning authentic and purposeful, I use those questions to drive the investigations in this unit.  The question we will be investigating today is "Where does the moon get its light from?" I point out the question, "How does the moon reflect?" and use that to jump start our investigation.

I show my students examples of rocks ...big rocks, little rocks, etc. I pass these rocks around and let them examine them closely. Do these rocks give off light? Do any of these rocks glow or produce light? Would you say these rocks are a light source? You are right! Rock does not give off light. So guess what that means? The moon doesn't give off light because it too is a giant rock. The moon is not a light source. It does not give off its own light. 

I engage the students in conversation about light sources and refer back to our lesson in our light energy unit where we discovered different light sources in our environment.

Explore:

25 minutes

In this next section I introduce my students to Close Reading. Close Reading teaches students to uncover the different layers of meaning that leads to deeper comprehension of difficult text. This is our first experience with Close Reading so rather than having my students do the reading, I read the text out loud and ask them to listen. I am using the coaching model - I do, we do, then you do to support my learners.

This article breaks close reading down into these three basic steps and makes it more accessible to students: Understanding, Noticing, Explaining. This article explains close reading as a "practical and readily understandable guide for how to start a task that can seem daunting and perplexing." It allows students to access text that may be too challenging in a safe and user-friendly way

Our next step is to do some close reading.  You will be working with your workshop partner to find the big idea of this article I am about to read to you. An article is a piece of writing that is found in newspapers, magazines or on the Internet.  I show my students the article on our whiteboard. There are a couple of great articles about the moon on the PebbleGo website however if you don't have access to PebbleGo you can use Highlights for Kids. My students work in partnerships to record their findings on their Close Read chart.

In this exploration the students work with their workshop partners. I pass out a tray to each partnership. The tray has one flashlight and one Styrofoam ball on a stick.  I ask the students to look at the tray and design and experiment that will help test the hypothesis. I have the students discuss a plan with their workshop partner.  We write some of the plans on our Investigation Worksheet. 

Today you and your partner will be given a tray with one flashlight and one Styrofoam ball on a stick (IMAGE of trays). Your job is to work with your partner to figure out a way to test your hypothesis.  You get to make your own investigation with these tools to discover how the moon glows. 

I darken the room by turning off the lights and shading the windows. The student with the flashlight cast the light on the model. The students have to work together to create a way to answer the above questions.

As my students are working I walk around and confer with each student naming and noticing the smart thinking happening. Conferring is the process of listening and recording the work the student or students are doing and then compliment the work. As I listen, I research a teaching point and then work to provide clarification through questioning, modeling and re-teaching.  In this conference I tell my students that the Earth spins on its axis, and the Moon orbits the Earth. At this time I will introduce another Styrofoam ball on a stick. They both orbit the Sun however the Earth spins at the same time that the Moon goes around the Earth (orbits). The sun does not move and the Sun can only shine on the part of the Moon facing the sun. That is why we see different parts of the Moon from Earth. 

Explain:

10 minutes

In this exploration my students work with their workshop partners. I pass out a tray to each partnership. The tray has one flashlight and one Styrofoam ball on a stick.  I ask the students to look at the tray and design and experiment that will allow them to investigate our question, "How does the moon glow?" I have the students discuss a plan with their workshop partner.  We write some of the plans on our Investigation Worksheet. 

Today you and your partner will be given a tray with one flashlight and one Styrofoam ball on a stick. Your job is to work with your partner to figure out a way to find an answer to our question.  You get to create your own investigation with these tools to discover how the moon glows. 

Once the students have discussed a plan, I darken the room by turning off the lights and shading the windows. I observe my students using the flashlight to cast the light on the Styrofoam model. My students have to work together to create a way to answer the above question.

As my students are working I walk around and confer with each student naming and noticing the smart thinking happening. Conferring is the process of listening and recording the work the student or students are doing and then compliment the work. As I listen, I research a teaching point and then work to provide clarification through questioning, modeling and re-teaching.  In this conference I tell my students that the sun does not move and the Sun can only shine on the part of the Moon facing the sun. I ask my students questions and prompt them to solve our question, "How does the moon glow?" Some of my students try to create the phases of the moon in this investigation.

Elaborate:

10 minutes
I turn the classroom lights back on and bring the class together to share their observations with their turn and talk partners.  The strands of science proficiency involve students to participate productively in scientific practices and discourse.  In other words my students need opportunities to  think science and talk science. I have my students share their observations. I ask my students, "What did you learn?"

Science and Engineering practice 8 requires our students to obtain, evaluate and communicate information. By students sharing their evidence and explaining results students are allowed to engage in scientific reasoning. My students will communicate information about a reflection using a model.

I have one student act as the sun, holding the flashlight and not moving. I pass out the moon and the Earth and model how to make the Earth spin and the moon orbit.  My students have a lot of fun modeling and discussing the movements of our celestial objects. I write down the word reflection and put it on our Science Vocabulary Board.

I record our E-Evidence on our KLEWS anchor chart:  The flashlight made the Styrofoam ball glow.

I record what we learning under L-Learned on our KLEWS anchor chart:  The sun shines on the moon and the moon reflects the suns light.

Evaluate:

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 about our investigation today. I ask, "What did you learn today?" As the students write I tell them to refer back to the research we did today. I tell them to use information from their recording sheet to help with their scientific writing. I am looking for answers that include words reflection, moon borrows the light from the sun, etc. This formative assessment gives me insight on the learning that is taking place.