Where am I?

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SWBAT identify their city/town, state, country, continent, the earth and solar system in order to visualize where they are in this world.

Big Idea

Let's launch into studying the solar system! This lesson allows students to identify where they are in this world - Earth.

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. Before diving into this unit I ask students to discover that standing on earth we can look up into space and discover new things.  We will explore our school, town/city, state, country, continent, planet and solar system.  In my next lesson, I will build upon this learning.

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 Observation 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, The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons, white crayons and a parent guide. 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.


1. Sunset Observation Sheet for the "Take Home Bag"

2. Parent letter - SUN

3. Parent Letter - MOON

4. Sunset Calendar

5. You Tube Video: It's a Beautiful, Beautiful World by Storybots

6. Slide Show: Where Am I in this World?

7.Where Am I in this World Booklet


10 minutes

The NGSS standards ask that students make observations of the sun, moon and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted. While the NGSS does not ask students to understand the deeper principles of the Earth's revolution or rotation, I will touch on these concepts throughout this unit. I want to introduce my students to where they are in this world. 

I want to develop a culture that encourages student engagement, curiosity and a desire to understand the world through scientific exploration. I begin this lesson activating prior knowledge for my young students with this fun video about the Earth.

After the video I show my students a globe and talk about the Earth.  I introduce the words sun, moon and planets in this conversation.


25 minutes

I continue this lesson using our social studies standards on geography to help my students to understand where they are in this world before moving into the observation of the sky. As we move into our Solar System unit I want my students to understand the how the earth, moon and sun relate to each other. 

I show my students a slide show called, Where am I in this world? As we go through the slide show my students fill in their own booklet that will be used in our social studies lessons to further our study on geography.

Boys and girls we are moving into a new unit of study. We are going to be studying our sky and objects in our sky. Have you ever heard the word solar system before? We will be studying three big things in our solar system.  The sun, the moon and the stars.  Do you know where you are right this minute?  Student answers will vary to this question. Some students will say earth while others will say school. I am careful to acknowledge and accept all answers as correct.

I am going to pass out this booklet and together we are going to fill in each page.  You will notice that the very first page says, "Me." I have already glued a photo of you on that page.

I pass out the booklets and start the slide show.  I ask the students to draw illustrations in each of the boxes. You may want to print out photographs of your town, state, country and continent to help make this go faster.

As my students work on their booklets 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. My goal with this conference is to guide my students to draw accurate representations of the where they are.


10 minutes

I gather my students on the rug to share their books.  I have students their work with their partners.  I ask them to use the names of our school, city/town, state, country, continent and planet. As the students share their illustrations with their peers and talk about the different landmarks they have chosen to include in their booklets I listen in on conversations. I use this time to listen in for any additional understandings the students may have.


5 minutes

We watch the video of the book, Me on the Map by Joanne Sweeney and Annette Cable being read aloud. This book is an introduction to maps and geography however I find it helpful in teaching children their location on earth.  My favorite part of this book is at the end when she demonstrates how readers can find their own country, state, and town. The NGSS does not require students to understand why the sun, moon and stars have patterns but in this unit, I will dive into these concepts in order to develop background knowledge for years to come.  I begin here by allowing students to see their place on earth.


10 minutes
There is no real formative assessment for this lesson.  In order to check for understanding I ask the students the following questions whole group:
What planet do you live on?
Where is this planet?
What town/city do you live in?
What is the name of your state?
What is the name of your school?
As my students answer these questions, together we create an anchor chart that students can use as a reference point.