Unit 2:Sun-Earth Connection (Solar System)
Lesson 3: The Center of Our Solar System: The Sun- Part 3
5E Lesson Planning:
I plan most of my science lessons using the BSCS 5E Lesson Model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate.For a quick overview of the model, take a look at this video.
I use this lesson model because it peaks the students' interest in the beginning during the "Engage" portion and allows for the students to actively participate in the investigations throughout the subsequent steps. The “Evaluate” component of the 5E Lesson Model can be used in many ways by the teacher and by the students.
In this Unit students will learn about the solar system by studying the sun, the moon, planets and stars. In the first three lessons the students will learn about the Sun. Lessons 4 through 7 focus on the movement of the Earth around the Sun. Lessons 8 is about Orreries, lessons 9 and 10 cover solar eclipses, lessons 11 and 12 are about the moon, lesson 13 discusses the other planets in the Solar System, and the last 3 lessons (14-16) are about stars and constellations.
In this lesson, students will create a model of the Sun that will allow them to compare the size of the Earth to the Sun as well as compare the size of the Moon to both the Earth and Sun. This lesson incorporates math and art components. It's important to note that this project will take 2 to 3 days to complete and the break down of each day is described in the lesson narrative.
You will also need the following materials to complete this lesson:
Since this project takes a lot of time to complete, I combine my 8 science groups into 4 larger groups so they can plan and complete the project in a shorter amount of time. Therefore, the materials above are per group and the entire class will be creating 4 "Suns". Make sure to also give yourself enough time to gather the materials. You could prepare the circles ahead of time by measuring and cutting them, but I prefer that the students do this so they get some measuring and mathematics practice. The idea for this lesson comes from the Eye on the Sky curriculum that I learned about in a workshop.
Next Generation Science Standards:
This lesson focuses on the Disciplinary Core Ideas and Crosscutting Concepts of the NGSS but not any specific performance expectations of the NGSS Standards. However, it's important for students to understand the big idea of comparing the size of the Earth to the Sun and the size of the Moon to the Earth. This give them a good background for understanding the performance expectations of 5-ESS1-1 and 5-ESS1-2. The DCI and CCC for this lesson are explained below.
Disciplinary Core Ideas: This lesson aligns to the Disciplinary Core Idea from the Earth and Space Science:
ESS1.A: The Universe and Its Stars. Stars range greatly in size and distance from Earth and this can explain their relative brightness.
Natural objects exist from the very small to the immensely large. (5-ESS1-1)
Science & Engineering Practices:
Modeling in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to building and revising simple models and using models to represent events and design solutions.
This is one of my favorite lessons to do with my students in this unit. They love that they get to paint during science and they get excited to see the final product of their large Sun model.
I start the lesson by showing the students images of the Sun from the book The Sun, by Seymour Simon, I show them the most recent images of the sun using this link from NASA, and I show them images from a the June 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine with the headline "Solar Super Storms".
After they get excited about seeing the images, I tell them that they will be creating a scale model of the Sun by using paint, paper, paint brushes, measuring tape, and string. I show them where the materials are located and tell them that they will be working in larger groups for this project.
To give the students a better understanding of scale I show them this resource to give them and idea of what scale means. I also tell them that since we are focusing our investigations on the Solar System in this Unit, I wanted them to create a model that would show the comparison of the size of the Sun to the size of the Earth and the Moon. I also have this Scale Poster posted in the Science Room for the students to refer to as a visual reminder of the Crosscutting Concept we are studying in this lesson.
I tell them that creating a scale model is making something that is much smaller than the real object but they are relatively the same size in comparison to each other. The purpose of creating this scale model of the Sun is to show how much larger the Sun is in comparison to the Earth and the Moon. I explain that the Sun we will be making will be very large- having a diameter of 138.5 cm (54.5 inches) and our sticker, the "Earth" is only 1.27cm (1/2 inch). The pin "Moon" is even smaller, only 0.32cm (0.13 inches) wide in diameter.
I normally have 8 groups comprised of 4 students working together during science investigations, but for this project, I combine the 8 groups into 4 groups of 8. This will allow for the project to take less time and less space in the science room. This can even become a whole class project if you are really pressed for time.
We also talk about the different parts of the Sun that they saw in the book and in the pictures and I write down the following terms on the board. I explain to the students that we will be using these terms to label the Sun models. In a later part of the lesson, the student will copy these words into their Science Notebooks and define them.
|Solar flare||Magnetic Loop|
This lesson will most likely take 2 or 3 days to complete, depending on how long your science block is. Each day will take about 60 minutes to complete.
I have the students make a plan before they start creating a model so that they can have a focus for what they need to do for the project. It's also a good way for the groups to work together. I also emphasize to them that being a scientist requires having a plan written when completing projects and doing experiments.
Day 2 (or Day 1 if there's enough time.
I guide the students with their painting to some extent, I tell them that I want it to look like some of the photos we have seen and that it should have the different colors. They really get into the painting and I encourage them to take some ownership of their project, and try not to direct it too much after they get going. I remind them that this is a model of the Sun and it won't look exactly like the Sun.
As we are completing this activity I tell the students that the Sun is very large in comparison to the Earth and that 1 blue sticker represents the Earth. I then tell them that it takes about 4 moons to cover the diameter of the Earth and I show them one of the white push pins (these are map pins) and that one of the pins represents the Moon.
It's important to emphasize that the measurements should be accurate to create the proper scale. We had to change the type of sticker we used for the model (a hole reinforcement sticker) and this still didn't give us the right proportion.
After we complete the size comparisons of the Sun, Earth and Moon, I ask the students why it's important to create models of objects.
As a whole group we fill out the How Big is the Sun worksheet and post it next to the Sun model. We use this as a sign to show the comparison of the sizes of the Sun, Earth and Moon.
I also give them a quick assessment: How Big is the Sun? to see that they understood the activity. They work with their science groups to decide on the answers and the students then write the answers to the questions in their Science Notebooks.
I can also evaluate the students during the completion of the project by looking at their plans, listening to their discussions with their science groups, and observing how they participate in the group discussion.