Ethan is Over the Moon!

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SWBAT analyze patterns and use them to describe the Moon's movement, relative to the Earth.

Big Idea

Why do we see the moon in the night sky, and what causes it to change? Students analyze patterns in data to determine the daily changes that reveal the moon's movement in relation to the Earth and the sun.

Setting Up the Investigation

Connection to The Next Generation Science Standards

In this investigation, students begin the work that will lead them to explore the Disciplinary Core Idea of Earth's Place in the Universe:  The Universe and its Stars -  that the sun is a star that appears larger and brighter than other stars because it's closer, and stars range greatly in their distance from Earth. (5-ESS1-1); Earth and the Solar System - that the orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns.  These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year. (5-ESS1-2); Motion and Stability:  Forces and Interactions - that the gravitational force of Earth acting on an object near Earth's surface pulls that object towards the planet's center.  (5-PS2-1) and the Crosscutting Concept of Patterns  - Similarities and differences in patterns can be used to sort, classify, communicate and analyze simple rates of change for natural phenomena. (5-ESS1-1); Scale, Proportion, and Quantity - Natural objects exist from the very small to the immensely large (5-ESS1-1); and Cause and Effect - Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified and used to explain change (5-PS2-1).

Please Note:  The Lexile Level for Plaid Pete is Finding Earth's Place in the Universe - Lab Scenario Sheet Lesson 7 is 800 (5th Grade Range is 740 - 1010).

The Preparation Time for This Investigation is approximately 10 minutes.

Materials Needed:

One copy of the DVD - Bill Nye The Science Guy:  The Moon available from amazon

One copy for each student of Plaid Pete is Finding Earth's Place in the Universe - Lab Scenario Sheet - Lesson 7

One copy for each student of Plaid Pete is Finding Earth's Place in the Universe Lab Sheet - Lesson 7

One copy for each team of the previous two month's moon phases calendars from the Stardate website

One copy for each student of the Quiz from The Bill Nye Implementation Guide:  The Moon by Disney (on pg. 18)

One copy for each student of Plaid Pete is Finding Earth's Place in the Universe - Lesson 7 Check-Up

Focus & Motivation

10 minutes

Introduce the Scenario

I ask my students, "What does it mean to be superstitious?"  I call on a few students.  They have some ideas, but not a true understanding of the meaning.  I clarify that it means having beliefs or ideas that are not founded on reason or knowledge.  I explain that in centuries past, native peoples had "superstitious beliefs" about celestial bodies - especially the moon.  I ask my students to turn and talk about why that might be so.  I call on a few students to respond, and they state that it is because before we had ways to explain things through Science, people had to have a way to explain what was happening to them in their daily lives.

I confirm that this is how many stories about the moon and other celestial bodies began, and that some still exist today - even though we don't have proof.  I project the following website:  On the other side of reality:  Superstitions of the moon and we read through them. I confirm that these are all beliefs that are not grounded in reason or knowledge.  I tell my students that today, they will be reading a scenario where Plaid Pete's friend also has ideas that are not grounded in reason or knowledge.  I am purposefully presenting this because surfacing these ideas are important.  Many students at this developmental stage have these kinds of ideas and they interfere with the acquisition of new conceptual knowledge.

Students Read the Scenario in their Teams

I pass out a copy of Plaid Pete is Finding Earth's Place in the Universe - Lab Scenario Sheet - Lesson 7 to each of my students.  They get their highlighters ready to prepare the test to read them "Reader's Theater" style.  I explain that today there will be 3 parts:  Plaid Pete, Ethan, and a narrator.  I tell my students, "See if you can identify the superstitious beliefs in this scenario."  My students get busy reading.  When they are finished, I ask students to turn and talk in their teams and identify the superstitious beliefs.  I call on a few students and they are able to accurately able to identify them.  I tell my students, "Now that we know the ideas that aren't supported by reason and knowledge - let's move on to learning the ones that are!"

Learning Objective & Success Criteria

Note:  Consistent with the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, I am now including a language objective with each lesson.  These objectives were derived from the Washington State ELP Standards Frameworks that are correlated with the CCSS and the NGSS.

I share the learning objective and success criteria:  

Learning Objective:  I can analyze patterns and use them to describe the Moon's movement, relative to the Earth.

Language Objective:  I can construct grade appropriate written claims and support them with reasoning and evidence.  [ELP.4-5.4]

Success Criteria:  I can make a claim supported by evidence from my investigation.

Guided Exploration

20 minutes

Introduce the Task

Although I would like for my students to be able to go out and collect a month's worth of observational data on the moon, that just isn't possible.  I do ask them to go out this evening (with parent permission) and make some observational notes to bring back and share with the class.  In the meantime, I have found a wonderful website that has collected the data for us:  Stardate.  I am able to go on this site, print off calendars for the two previous months, and copy them for my students.

I hand out a copy of Plaid Pete is Finding Earth's Place in the Universe Lab Sheet - Lesson 7 to each of my students.  We go through each of the questions.  I explain that I want them to discuss the questions in their team, and answer one question before they go on to the next. I also tell them, "You already have information you have learned previously, as well as this data that should assist you in answering these."  

As teams work, I circulate between them, listening in and prompting with questions or redirections.  I want them to connect what they are learning and use the data to make sense of the information.  I come upon this team and discover this student explaining her thinking using a diagram in this Video Clip.

I know this is cognitively demanding material - but I want them to do the thinking work!  I am endeavoring to use a form of Socratic Teaching - teaching through questioning.  This form of teaching stimulates higher level cognitive thinking.  I also prompt them to leave room to construct a "Line of Learning" - a line that leaves space below it to revise their thinking after they acquire additional information.

When most teams have finished the questions, I draw their attention to the claims and evidence table.

Making Claims Supported by Evidence

I point out the claims and evidence table below the question box.  I tell my students, "In the first box, I would like you to make a claim about the moon's rotation.  Be sure you write in the top of the box and construct a line of learning below your claim.  I give them a stem:

I claim that the moon rotates around the __________.

I then ask them to state the evidence for their claim, again reminding them to construct a line of learning and leave room for revision.

I point out the second claims and evidence box.  I tell my students, "In the second box, I would like you to make a claim about the length of time it takes the moon to make one complete rotation (one complete turn - and I demonstrate with a basketball), again drawing a line of learning and leaving room for revision."

I give them the following stem:

I claim that the length of time it takes the moon to make one complete rotation is _____.

When my students have finished, I tell them that it is time to get some new information! 


30 minutes

Introduce the Video

One of the very best resources I know of to introduce a topic this complex, and that will engage my students - Is Bill Nye the Science Guy's DVD - The Moon.  My students love watching and he uses a great combination of information, demonstrations, and attention getting stunts.  I tell my students to listen closely, as they will be helping to construct a Key Points Chart and taking a Quiz when the video is over!

Construct Key Points Chart

After the video is complete, I ask my students to turn and talk about what they believe are the "Key Points" from the video.  I have a piece of chart paper on which I have listed the title "Key Points."  I ask teams to share out.  I have previously listed the Key Points that I want my students to take away, and I use questioning to elicit them.

The big idea that they need to take away is:

The moon orbits the Earth.  The moon also reflects light from the sun.  It does not make its own light.  As it orbits the Earth, we see the bright parts of the moon at different angles. These different angles are called "phases of the moon."

I have also previously sketched a model of the moon's phases as seen from Earth from the Star Child NASA website.  I construct the chart in front of students using a "narrative input process" as seen in this Video Clip.  Characteristics of this process include:  providing "input" or instruction using different colored markers that trace over predetermined information while students watch; chunking the information into easily processed bits; and providing time to process or "chew" on the information between the bits by having students turn and talk or process the information in some way.   My students will further process this information by reconstructing this model for their Lesson 7 Check-Up as their "Do Now" activity tomorrow morning.

After completing the input chart, students work in their teams to take the Quiz on the movie.  I allow them to use the chart, as this provides yet another way for them to process the information.  This quiz can be found in the Implementation Guide for Billy Nye Videos that is produced by Disney (You will need to scroll down as the quiz is on pg. 18 of the guide).

This is the chart that was constructed:

Reflection & Closure

5 minutes

 Revise Lines of Learning & Claims and Evidence

I ask my students to go back and revise their lab sheets.  I am so excited to see them add to what they have learned.  As they work, I notice more than a few students who are doing their very best work, and lean down to tell them how very proud I am of their efforts.  I tell my students, "You will be turning in your notebooks when you are finished, and I can't wait to read them and see all the wonderful work you have accomplished today!"  A completed student lab sheet will look like this Example.

Tomorrow for their 'Do Now" activity, I will ask them to reconstruct the Moon's Phases from Earth on our Key Points Chart for their Plaid Pete is Finding Earth's Place in the Universe - Lesson 7 Check-Up.