This unit is a mini-unit that can be taught directly after Space Part 1 or independently. I chose to teach the Space Part 1 unit (also here on BetterLesson!) during January, and then Space Part 2 in late May.
Space Part 1 addresses the following NGSS standard:
1-ESS1-1. Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.
This mini-unit addresses this additional standard:
1-ESS1-2. Make observations at different times of year to relate the amount of daylight to the time of year.
It becomes so clear to children that days are getting longer in the Spring and Summer, which makes this a perfect time to analyze data about the amount of daylight in different seasons. Also, now having lived through multiple seasons with my students, we can share common experiences (remember when snow covered the playground *forever*!?!).
In this lesson, students are given charts with data for daylight amounts. Together we will analyze the data and read the charts in order to provide evidence for the fact that there is more daylight in the summer. This lesson aligns closely to NGSS Science and Engineering Practice #4 Analyzing and Interpreting Data, including using data to make predictions. It also aligns to SEP #5 Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking, as we use numbers displayed in table form to describe patterns.
In today's warm-up, I review how to read a chart. I show a sample chart and we discuss the components.
I like all students to have a copy of the sample chart, so that they may follow along with their finger and trace the columns. I also display it on the whiteboard with a transparent rectangle to highlight the columns or rows under discussion. Using colors to differentiate sections is incredibly helpful for students. I also breakdown the definition of data-- numbers that give us information-- into kid-friendly terminology.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practice #5 Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking asks students to use counting and numbers to identify and describe patterns in the natural and designed world(s). Now that we have reviewed how to read a chart in the warm-up, we move towards interpreting the data. In this video, students are asked to use the data to make predictions about the amount of daylight on the next few days.
Next, students used the winter data to make predictions.
Since students had the data on clipboards with them, students recorded predictions and notes. My students also have Science Journals-- marbled composition notebooks dedicated to science notes. Here, one of my more advanced students transcribed the data into a science journal and continued making additional predictions by analyzing the patterns.
In closing, it is time to make direct comparisons between the amounts of daylight in the summer and winter. NGSS Science and Engineering Practice #5 Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking asks students to describe, measure, and/or compare quantitative attributes of different objects and display the data using simple graphs. Here, after viewing data about the amount of daylight in winter, students are working with partners to make predictions and compare which days have more daylight.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practice #5 Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking asks students to describe, measure, and/or compare quantitative attributes of different objects and display the data using simple graphs. Here, after viewing data about the amount of daylight in winter and summer, students are working with partners to compare data in a graph and use the data to answer the question, "Which season has the most daylight?"
I close the lesson with a discussion which reaches the objective: verifying that indeed, summer has more daylight hours than winter.