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1 BEAD 5: Earth and the Other Planets MATERIALS (STANDARD) FOR EACH CLASS: Copies of the 1-page list of 28 events (for each child to use during class) Wait till Rain/Ocean session to invite newcomers or those who missed a class to choose beads to fill in for past sessions. There is to much to do in this session and the next. MATERIALS FOR THIS SESSION: Download, read Teacher Directions, and prepare Plutoʼs Identity Crisis parable: Organize the classroom space to facilitate performance after the opening circle. Optional: poster of all the planets (must be new enough to be without Pluto). Scarves as props for performing Plutoʼs Identity Crisis parable (see directions). No beads will be distributed or made; Earth bead and Moon bead both in next lesson. You might need to recruit older kids as readers of the scripts, if your kids are too young. MATERIALS FOR NEWCOMERS: None: Wait till the Rain/Ocean session to invite newcomers or those who missed a class to choose beads to fill in for past sessions. ETHICAL OR WORLDVIEW LEARNINGS: The children will learn about adoption; Pluto is an adopted dwarf planet and what makes it part of the family of the Solar System is that, like the rest, it is held by Sunʼs loving gravitational embrace. 2. Stories created from real science can be just as fun and playful as completely madeup, fictional stories. But these stories might have to be updated, if the science changes. PREPARATION NOTES: Plan your class time carefully to ensure that no less than 30 minutes is available for setting up and performing the dramatic scripts, with extra time for discussion to follow. Compress or skip earlier elements of this lesson, if necessary. My Universe Story, by Connie Barlow, version 9/14/10, Lesson Plan for Bead 5 page 1

2 REVIEW OF PRIOR WEEK (PARTICIPATORY; CIRCLE RECOMMENDED): Who was here last week? Who wants to help us remember what we talked about and did last week? Encourage discussion (birth and death of the Sun; bigger stars use up their fuel and die faster while burning brighter; different types of animal pets die at different ages; energy from the Sun powers every action we take; the Sun Stretch movement.) Did anyone do extra research on our topic last week and want to report back to the group? NEWCOMER OR ABSENTEE CATCH-UP TIME Skip this part, as no new beads will be distributed this week, so they can catch up next week. STORYTELLING (PARTICIPATORY; CIRCLE RECOMMENDED): Skip this part if you are seriously short of time. This is the Universe Story that belongs to all Earthlings. Who here is an Earthling?... In the beginning, about 13.7 billion years ago, our Universe was born. Nobody yet has discovered why our Universe was born. But scientists have discovered lots of evidence that our Universe really did have a beginning, and that the beginning happened suddenly more than 13 billion years ago. So... just like us... the Universe came into existence by being born. Scientists have discovered that after the Universe was born, it grew from something smaller than a grasshopper, smaller than a mustard seed, into something so immense that it now contains billions of [wait for them to say galaxies ]. We also know that the Universe is still growing. It is still growing, just like you are still growing. The Story of the Universe is actually your story. It is the story of who all your ancestors and cousins are not just your human ancestors and cousins, but also the greatgreat-great-great-great grandparent you share in common with a walrus, and with the even older common ancestor you share with an earthworm, all the way back to when the only creatures alive on planet Earth were [wait for them to say bacteria ]. The My Universe Story, by Connie Barlow, version 9/14/10, Lesson Plan for Bead 5 page 2

3 wonderful thing is that this story is exactly the same story for all the children born on this planet. Last time we learned that after the different kinds of stars inside our own Milky Way Galaxy made all the atoms of chemical elements now inside of us, our own star, the Sun, was born about 5 billion years ago. So what event are we going to discuss today? Clue: Look at your list of events Answer: Earth and the other planets form from stardust that swirls into ever bigger clumps. So there was this great cloud of hydrogen gas that had been in the Milky Way since the beginning. Then, about 5 billion years ago, it began to collapse by gravity and so it began to form new stars including our Sun. Because it had been enriched with lots of atoms of stardust exhaled or exploded by ancestor stars, it was possible for our Sun to have planets form in orbits around it. Thus, along with the Sun was born a whole Solar System of planets and smaller space debris. ACTIVITY: PERFORMING PLUTOʼS IDENTITY CRISIS TEACHER DIRECTIONS: Explain that we will make (or choose) the Earth bead next session, not today. Instead... For the rest of the class, we are all going to participate in staging a play about the planets. This play is called, Plutoʼs Identity Crisis. TEACHER DIRECTIONS: Use the Teacher Directions that you downloaded with the scripts to get the kids set up for the play and for distributing the scripts (and scarves) of the main characters to excellent readers at the outset. Give the main characters no more time to look at their scripts than to read the one paragraph in red at the top of their script. (The Sun gets to begin off-stage, so can read their whole stage directions slowly while the play begins.) My Universe Story, by Connie Barlow, version 9/14/10, Lesson Plan for Bead 5 page 3

4 (OPTIONAL) DISCUSSION TEACHER DIRECTIONS: If there is time, ask some leading questions, all of which will help the children understand that, while the story was made-up and planets do not talk, the science represented in the story is real science. Sample questions: a. Was this a true story or a made-up story, a fictional story? b. How about the factual parts, about Pluto orbiting on a slant and sometimes dipping inside of Neptuneʼs orbit, about Jupiter being big, about Earth having green patches because of plants, about Venus being covered in thick clouds, about Mercury being hot? [all true] c. Is it scientifically correct to say that Pluto is not a planet, but that it is a dwarf planet instead? [Yes. Astronomers decided to change Plutoʼs status from a planet to a dwarf planet in In fact, the author wrote this play in 2004, before there was even a term dwarf planet. So that part about Pluto being a dwarf planet was something she added in This means that, unlike other stories, if an author writes a story based on science, then they have to be prepared to change it if new discoveries are made.] Ask for a VOLUNTEER to research the definition of a dwarf planet and to report back next time (a) the definition, and (b) how many others have been found? d. Do you think it is a good thing or a bad thing to have to change a story?... e. What are some examples of stories that never change? [religious stories, fairy tales] f. Has a grown-up read to you a story that you think is exactly the same story that they were told when they were children? [religious stories, fairy tales] * * * g. If Pluto is officially a dwarf planet, was the Sun being truthful in saying that it adopted Pluto? [kind of; Pluto probably used to orbit way out at a very great distance but then got knocked off by some catastrophe and started on a new course into the Solar System, where the Sunʼs gravity put it into a stable, though slanted orbit.] h. Did you like the part about the Sun saying that even Icy Comet is part of the family because all of them are held by the Sunʼs loving gravitational embrace? [Kids can have any emotional response to this that they wish.] My Universe Story, by Connie Barlow, version 9/14/10, Lesson Plan for Bead 5 page 4

5 Optional Discussion of ADOPTION It would be interesting to hear if someone who was adopted into a family found this story of Plutoʼs Identity Crisis helpful. Q: So I wonder if anyone here in this class who was adopted into a family might help the rest of us understand if this story was meaningful to them? If not... Q: Does anybody here know somebody who was adopted into a family?.. If somebody knows someone... Q: Do you think they would have liked this story about Pluto? BEYOND-CLASS INTERVIEW: IS PLUTO A PLANET? Here is something that will be really fun for all of us to do (even me!) and then report back what next week. All we have to do is find a grown-up to interview. That person can be a parent or other family member, a teacher, a neighbor... Ask them two questions: First Question: Do you know that scientists recently decided that Pluto is not a planet like the rest, but instead is a dwarf planet? Whatever their response, then ask them a second question: Second Question: How do you feel about Pluto no longer being a real planet? My Universe Story, by Connie Barlow, version 9/14/10, Lesson Plan for Bead 5 page 5

6 AT CLASS END: So what event will we be doing next week?.... [look at list] We will be learning about how the Moon was formed. And we will be doing something new for the beads. We will make our own beads to represent Earth and the Moon. Instead of choosing beads from a sock, we will be using something called Sculpey Clay to make them... Has anyone used Sculpey Clay before? If you have to miss next week, donʼt worry. All of us will be making extra copies of Earth and the Moon. So anybody who doesnʼt get a chance to make their own will be able to choose from the extras when they return to class. TEACHER NOTE: For Closing Song, if you have forgotten the tune, click here to listen to AUDIO.) CLOSING SONG I am a child of the Universe. You are a child of the Universe. We are all one. My Universe Story, by Connie Barlow, version 9/14/10, Lesson Plan for Bead 5 page 6

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