Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Investigating Star Brightness & Distance - Section 4: Reflect & Apply


One of the most overlooked and yet most powerful teacher strategies that can be used to address almost all teaching challenges is the act of teacher reflection and making adjustments to practice.

For today's lesson, I at first wanted to provide students with as much hands-on investigating as possible, so I collected twenty flashlights and grouped them as identical pairs for each group: Flashlights. Students then investigated how distance impacts the brightness of two identical flashlights on their own: Original Investigation and Original Investigation 2.

This investigation was a complete flop! While I wanted students to discover how closer stars (like the sun) can appear to be brighter because of their distance from Earth, students discovered the exact opposite! Some flashlights had newer or better quality batteries than others! Consequently, the flashlight further away would often appear to be brighter than the flashlight closer up! 

As a result, I decided to wrap up the investigation, reflect upon the ways in which it could be improved, and try again later! 

To ensure that the investigative process would be both engaging and productive, I came up with the following solutions to help students meet the standards. 

1. I found two identical flashlights and placed fresh batteries in each flashlight. (I wanted to ensure students could successfully explore how a flashlight closer up could appear to be brighter.) 

2. I asked for student volunteers to help with the investigation instead of providing a teacher demonstration. (I wanted to engage students as much as possible.)

3. Although I originally put into place the rule that flashlights had to be 2 meters away from students, I redesigned the investigation so that students were not looking straight into the flashlights. Instead, students directed the flashlights toward the white board. This allowed them to really see how one light appeared to be brighter than the other.

By going through this reflective process and by being willing to make adjustments, students were able to successfully and productively construct a solid understanding of the relationship between star brightness and distance. 

  Adjustments to Practice: Teacher Reflection & Making Adjustments to Practice
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Investigating Star Brightness & Distance

Unit 4: The Sun & Earth' s Patterns
Lesson 3 of 10

Objective: SWBAT explain how distance affects the appeared brightness of stars.

Big Idea: In this lesson, students explore the brightness of stars by examining a photo of the night sky. Then, students use flashlights to investigate how distance impacts star brightness.

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111 teachers like this lesson
Science, sun, Earth and Space Science, stars, distance, investigation, star brightness, pattern, time, seasons
  75 minutes
two flashlights same distances
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