Seasons and Phases Grade 8 Pre-Visit Materials Howard B. Owens Science Center

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1 Seasons and Phases Grade 8 Pre-Visit Materials Howard B. Owens Science Center Prince George s County Public Schools Upper Marlboro, Md

2 Seasons and Phases (8 th grade) Program Description: Students will discover how observations of the sky teach us about the seasons and the causes of moon phases. Look beyond textbook diagrams and learn how to experience this information directly! Textbooks show us the phases of the moon from the point of view of an observer from outer space looking at the Sun/Earth/Moon system. While that is helpful for some concepts, we seek to understand what we see from the point of view of observers on planet Earth! The same can be said about the seasons. Diagrams are great, but how do we make sense of it all from just looking up? The unique environment of the planetarium allows us to immerse ourselves into making these observations that normally would take months and even a year to complete. In the course of two hours, we will move beyond the textbooks and allow students to build their own conceptual understanding of what they see by making and recording realisitic observations of the sky Interwoven into the science are threads of history from how ancient cultures interpreted and applied the knowledge gained from the sky, to how we as modern day scientists interpret and apply that same knowledge! Pre-Visit Activity 1: Knowing the Moon Knowing the Moon is designed to be a warm-up activity to provide students with some basic moon facts that will be helpful in their understanding of some of the more complex Earth-moon interactions to be explored in further activities. Problem 1 involves a simple mathematical calculation of average, but introduces the concept of perigee, or the Moon s closest distance to the Earth, and apogee, the Moon s furthest distance from the Earth. From simply viewing the diagram, students will be aware that the Moon s orbit is an ellipse rather than a circle, and that the Moon is located at one of the two foci of the ellipse. To calculate the average distance, they simply average the apogee and perigee distances (estimates provided from NASA). Problem 2 involves making a judgment by comparing two pictures; students should be able to reason that Picture A is the full moon at perigee, closest approach, since it is larger than Picture B, taken at apogee, its furthest distance away. Pre-Visit Activity 2: Lunar Phases This activity is designed to have students become familiar with resources that provide information on when various moon phases occur, asking students to recognize the patterns. This can also be used as a pre-assessment to determine student understanding of moon phases as a repeating pattern. 2

3 Program Title: Seasons and Phases Grade Level: 8 Science/Mathematics Standard: Date: Quarter 3 Program Lesson Planner Statement of Objective: What should students know and be able to do as a result of the lesson? 15 min. Students will develop an understanding of how the tilt of the Earth causes the seasons by observing the changing sunpaths of the Sun through key times of the year (the Equinoxes and Solstices). Students will develop an understanding of the phases of the Moon by observing the rising and/or setting positions of the Moon with respect to the Sun and interpreting the angle between the two celestial objects. Engagement Exploration Warm-Up: How will you engage students in learning? How will you connect the lesson to their prior knowledge? Students will observe a first quarter Moon in the planetarium sky and asked to identify the moon phase. The host teacher will direct them to correctly identify it as a first quarter moon and ask the students how they would draw this/record this in a journal or when taking a test. Once students had discovered it looks like a letter D. Now tell them they are going to take the same test in Australia. The planetarium will keep the same time/date, but change latitude to that of Melbourne, Australia (about 40 degrees South latitude). Students will be asked to describe the differences and similarities between the observations in Maryland and Australia. (Students will note the difference in appearance: the Moon now looks like a BACKWARDS letter D. The similarity: it is still in the Western part of the sky, with the lighted side facing towards its source of light, the Sun.) Teacher Monitored Activities: What will students do together to use new concepts or skills? How will you assist them in this process? 60 min. Part I: Moon Phases Each student will be provided with a worksheet and asked to record their observations individually. They will observe the relative positions of the Sun and Moon in Earth s sky using the planetarium to show these positions for the full moon phase, third quarter moon phase, waning crescent phase, and new moon phase. After recording their discoveries, students will be asked to write and share a prediction about the relative position of the Sun and Moon in Earth s sky for the first quarter moon phase. They will then observe using the planetarium to confirm or disprove their predictions. Part II: Seasons Students will be asked to predict the rising position of the Sun for the first day of Autumn (Autumnal Equinox). They will pair-share to refine their predictions, then observe and record the actual rising position of the Sun for the Autumnal Equinox. Next they will be asked to predict the height the Sun will cross the Noon Meridian and the setting position of the Sun. After observing both, the students will record the results. This procedure will be followed for the Winter Solstice, the Vernal Equinox, and the Summer Solstice.

4 Program Title: Seasons and Phases Grade Level: 8 Science/Mathematics Standard: Date: Quarter 3 Program Lesson Planner Explanation Elaboration (part of 60 min. explora tion) min. Teacher Directed Activities: How will you aid students in constructing the meaning of new concepts? How will you introduce/model new skills or procedures? Part I: The host teacher will explain how the angle between the Sun and Moon in Earth s sky determines how much of the lighted half of the Moon we can actually see from Earth. The host teacher will then bring up three students to model the motions of the Earth/Moon system and interpret the moon phases with the human model. Part II: The host teacher will have students access their prior knowledge of the length of days during the different seasons to make their predictions. The teacher will help the students analyze the sunpaths for the various seasons to discuss the relationship between the sunpaths and the temperature during the seasons. Finally, the planetarium coordinate system will be used to show students how to interpret the tilt of the Earth and the point when the Equinoxes occur by showing the separation between the Celestial Equator and the Ecliptic. Extension, Refinement, and Practice Activities: What opportunities will students have to use the new skills and concepts in a meaningful way? How will students expand and solidify their understanding of the concept and apply it to a real-world situation? How will students demonstrate their mastery of the essential learning outcomes? Part I: The host teacher will share how Native Americans named each Full Moon in their calendars, as well as lead the students through an exploration through how the Moon has been viewed through history (full moons vs. insanity; blue moon ; blood moon ). Part II: The host teacher will take students to the Equator and the Poles to observe the sunpaths at these locations. Students will determine that some locations on Earth experience very little seasonal change based upon latitude. 4

5 Program Title: Seasons and Phases Grade Level: 8 Science/Mathematics Standard: Date: Quarter 3 Program Lesson Planner Evaluation Closure (throug hout class) 5-10 min min. Ongoing Assessment: How will you monitor student progress throughout the lesson? Students will be evaluated on their participation in question/answering sessions, as well as assessing their worksheets (to be done by the classroom teacher). Culminating Assessment: How will you ensure that all students have mastered the identified learning indicators? How will you assess their learning? Post-Visit activities will be provided to assist the teacher in assessing student mastery of key indicators. Closure Activities: Through this teacher-guided activity, how will you assist students in reflecting upon what they learned today and preparing for tomorrow s lesson? What homework will be assigned to help students practice, prepare, or elaborate on a concept or skill taught? The host teacher will take the students on a guided tour of the current night sky, identifying the current moon phase. 5

6 NGSS Alignment: MS. Space Systems MS-ESS1-1. Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons. ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System: This model of the solar system can explain eclipses of the sun and the moon. Earth s spin axis is fixed in direction over the short-term but tilted relative to its orbit around the sun. The seasons are a result of that tilt and are caused by the differential intensity of sunlight on different areas of Earth across the year. (MS- ESS1-1) MCCRS- RELA & Math: ELA/Literacy - SL.8.5 Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest. Mathematics - MP.4 Model with mathematics. 6.RP.A.1 Understand the concept of a ratio and use ratio language to describe a ratio relationship between two quantities. 7.RP.A.2 Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities. 6

7 Pre-Visit Activity 1: Knowing the Moon Teacher Materials: NONE Student Materials: Student Worksheet Procedure: Knowing the Moon is designed to be a warm-up activity to provide students with some basic moon facts that will be helpful in their understanding of some of the more complex Earth-moon interactions to be explored in further activities. Problem 1 involves a simple mathematical calculation of average, but introduces the concept of perigee, or the Moon s closest distance to the Earth, and apogee, the Moon s furthest distance from the Earth. From simply viewing the diagram, students will be aware that the Moon s orbit is an ellipse rather than a circle, and that the Moon is located at one of the two foci of the ellipse. To calculate the average distance, they simply average the apogee and perigee distances (estimates provided from NASA). Problem 2 involves making a judgment by comparing two pictures; students should be able to reason that Picture A is the full moon at perigee, closest approach, since it is larger than Picture B, taken at apogee, its furthest distance away.

8 Pre-Visit Activity 1: Knowing the Moon STUDENT WORKSHEET MOON 360,000 km 405,000 km 1. Using the information provided in the diagram above, calculate the average distance to the moon. A B 2. Looking at the images of the full moon above, which was taken at perigee (closest distance to Earth)? at apogee (furthest distance from Earth)? What evidence do you have to support your claim? 8

9 Pre-Visit Activity 2: (Web 2.0) Lunar Cycle Challenge Materials: Computer with Internet Access 1. Open up the following page to begin your lunar cycle challenge: 2. The instructions come up automatically (and are also read out loud to you). 3. Begin at level 1. You will use the pattern of the lunar cycle providing to fill in the missing moon phase (drag and drop): 9

10 ENJOY! 10

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