Reflection: Relevance Constellations-Moving Patterns In The Night Sky - Section 4: Elaborate/Evaluate

To end today’s lesson, I asked students to select a constellation to track and analyze its apparent movement. This assignment focuses on science practice 4, analyzing and interpreting data, where students need to analyze the movement of the constellation they selected over a year’s time. Their task was to look for any patterns that illustrated its relationship to explain the appearance of a constellation over a year’s time.

First, students selected a constellation and used a planisphere to view its movement each month. They illustrated its appearance each month on a data chart.  This chart visually represented a specific constellation’s appearance over the course of one year. Then, I had them explain how the selected constellation looked at various points in the year.  Many students stated how the constellation they selected appeared to turn as time went on. They grappled a bit with why the appearance at first but through discussion they were able to suggest that it was related to the rotation of the Earth. In some cases, students noted that their particular constellation did not appear.  Initially, some students were perplexed but I led them through a guided discussion on how our previous concepts within this unit could help us determine why this may be.  Students concluded that our position in space as we revolve correlated to the appearance of the constellation at certain times of the year.

Analyzing the Appearance of a Constellation
Relevance: Analyzing the Appearance of a Constellation

Constellations-Moving Patterns In The Night Sky

Unit 5: Out Of This World- A Journey Through Our Solar System
Lesson 11 of 11

Big Idea: Students will investigate patterns of constellations and construct a planisphere to illustrate why constellations appear to move throughout the year.

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Subject(s):
Science, literacy in science
65 minutes

Carrie Boyden

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