Our Sky!

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SWBAT observe objects in the sky and record their observations in their science journals.

Big Idea

What objects are in the day sky and the night sky? How do they seem to move? Come and explore with us as we discover the sun, moon, planets and stars!

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 objects in the sky. 1-ESS1-1 asks students to use observations to explore the predictable patterns of our moon, sun and stars.  The Next Generation Standards also asks that students themselves carry out investigation and use first hand observations.  In this lesson students will be observing objects in the sky and observing any noticeable changes or patterns.

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 (black paper), The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons, white crayons and a parent letter. 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. Space Systems - Patterns & Cycles Parent letter

2. The Sun Bag

3. The Sun Bag - Parent Letter

4. The Sun Bag - Sunset Observations sheet

5. Sunset Calendar editable

6. The Moon Bag

7. The Moon Bag - Parent letter

8. Moon Calendar editable

9.Day Sky Observations

4. Science Journals:  I just use blank paper in my journals so my students have space and freedom to experiment with graphic organizers, illustrations, etc.

5. Science Journal Prompt: What objects can you observe in our sky?

6. Vocabulary Our Sky


20 minutes

I begin this lesson by referring back to the anchor chart that we created in our last lesson.  I point to the earth. 

Boys and girls you live on the planet earth.  Actually you are standing here on the planet earth and looking up into the great vast solar system. Can you say, "Solar System?" My students repeat that word as I hold up a word card showing solar system. 

When you look up into our solar system you can see many objects.  What objects do you think you might see as you look up into our solar system?  My students begin to yell many different objects: sun, sky, planets, moon, stars.  I listen in and note the prior knowledge my students have about this topic. 

Boys and girls today we are going to be doing things that scientist do.  Do you remember when we made a list of all the things scientists do? What are some things you remember? At this point I ask my students to raise their hands and share their answers one at at time.  I want to comment and talk briefly about each of their ideas. For example if they say, "Ask questions." I  add, "Absolutely, scientists are always observing things and then asking questions. You will get to do that today. 

I show my students my anchor chart labeled, Our Sky!

Today you will be some very important observations. As you are observing I want you to notice things and record them in your science journals.  We will come back to the classroom and record what you notice on this side of the anchor chart. 


25 minutes

Attending to precision is a skill that I work on all year with my first grade students. I encourage my students to create accurate representations in their science journal.  I ask them to pay close attention to the color, lines, and shape of the objects in the day sky. I ask questions like: Is the sun up high or low? Is it really dark yellow or bright yellow? What else can you see?  

I take my students outside with their science journals and have students record their observations.  Before this lesson I send home the parent letter and request that students bring their sunglasses to school for the duration of unit. I also remind my students to not look directly at the sun.

We are going to begin by doing some observations of our day sky. We know that scientists use their five senses to help them observe the world around them. Today we will use the same tools. We will be using our senses to observe today.  I show my students a poster of our five senses.  Today we are going to use our sense of sight to observe the day sky.  We will record our observations in our science journals. It is very important that each of you wear protective eye gear (sunglasses) to keep you eyes safe.  Please do not look directly at the sun because it can hurt your precious eyes.    Today you will answer this very important question: What do you see in the sky during day?

As my students observe the sky I walk around and confer with each partnership 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 prompt each group with questions that will allow for their illustrations to be accurate representations of the day sky. I want them to notice where the objects are located and we will build upon that information throughout the day.


10 minutes

After all we have completed all of our observations of the day sky we join together back in the classroom and I have my students share their observations with their peers. After a few minutes I bring them back together to record their observations on our "Sky Observations" anchor chart. We will look at our illustrations to make some conclusions about objects in the day sky.

Boys and girls today you observed the day sky.  Did anything surprise you? My students share that the moon was out. You are right! That is because our moon moves across the sky and can be seen in the day sky as well as our night sky. What else did you notice? My students share their observations: clouds, sun, the sun was really high in the sky.

Elaborate - Day 2 Lesson:

10 minutes

I send my students home with an observation sheet for the night sky and continue this lesson the following day.  I am hoping that my students will observe the sky and moon in the night sky and bring those observations back to class. We fill in the 'Night' section on "Our Sky Observations" anchor chart.

Boys and girls you have observed the night sky and were able to observe the moon and stars.  Why do you think we can't we see the stars during the day? Are they still there?  I review our lesson on sun light and dark. When I turn the lights off and the classroom is really dark are you still there? Did you disappear? In the day sky we saw the sun and the moon in the day sky however we only saw the stars in the night sky.  We cannot see the stars in the day sky because our star, the sun, is so bright.

We read the book, Sun, Moon and Stars by Stephanie Turnbill. This book introduces many concepts that we will cover in this unit of study.  As we read this book we add new words to our Vocabulary Wall: planets, moon, sun, astronaut, space, solar system, phases of the moon, etc.


5 minutes

The Science and Engineering Practice 4 asks students to analyze data. At the K-2 level this involves students collecting, recording, and sharing observations. In this lesson the students are recording information, thoughts and ideas in their science journals. I send my students back to their science journals and ask them to write the answer to our big question: "What objects can you observe in the sky?

As the students write I tell them to refer back to their research. I am looking for answers that include both illustrations and words that describe the moon, stars, and sun.