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Utah Science

Curriculum Consortium

Tyson Grover 

tgrover@dsdmail.net

Annette Nielson

afonnesbeck@dsdmail.net

To begin our storyline, students are presented with the phenomena, does the moon change shape in a pattern? To obtain information, students engage in an observation of the moon’s changing appearance. Through observation, students argue from evidence to discover the moon changes in a cyclical pattern that takes approximately 28 days. This leads them to questioning the cause of the pattern. Students then explore by gathering more information from Universe Sandbox to reason about the cause of the patterns by developing their model of the Sun-Earth-Moon system. Leading them to question why the pattern recycles approximately every 28 days.  Students explain their understanding of the lunar patterns by creating a physical representation that simulates what they have observed. They discover that the lunar patterns recycle after a full rotation around the earth. They connect this information to their previous understanding that the cyclical pattern takes approximately 28 days before repeating. Students use their model to expand their understanding by arguing from evidence why their model is correct and adding the scientific names scientists use for the different phases in the pattern. Students finally, evaluate their understanding by using their conceptual model to predict and explain how specific phases of the moon fit in a certain time frame.

 

Students take their model of the Sun-Earth-Moon system that they have used to explain lunar patterns and apply their understanding to a new phenomena.  The new phenomena is introduced when students watch a video of a midday solar eclipse. Students engage in discussion to explain the pattern. Students further their exploration of this phenomena by obtaining information from an article about eclipses. Students question why these eclipses don’t happen every month. To construct an explanation, students develop a model to explain their understanding and to simulate the Sun-Earth-Moon system. Through discussion they discover that the moon’s orbit  must be different than earth’s, or else each month there would be two eclipses. Students evaluate their understanding by constructing an explanation to be shared with a younger 5th grader.

Storyline Narrative 6.1.1

Students develop their model of the Sun-Earth-Moon system further by observing the phenomena, different locations experience different length of days. Students engage in analysis of this pattern by looking at data of length of days throughout the world. As they explore this information students will discuss other patterns that would follow this trend. Students will specifically observe the patterns between length of day and temperatures to determine seasons are in the northern hemisphere are opposite from those on the southern hemisphere.This will lead students to ask why they are seeing this pattern. Students will then add to their model by reading an article about how the tilt of the earth causes the seasons. Students will take this information and explain what they have read using their models. They will expand their understanding by investigating how direct and indirect sunlight works using a computer simulator.  Students then evaluate their understanding by preparing a presentation to communicate to an outside audience how the pattern of seasons are caused by Sun-Earth-Moon System.

Materials Needed:

Universe Sandbox

Pencils

Styrofoam balls

Flashlights, lamp, or projector

Moon calendar

Moon Phase Chart

Object to represent the Sun

Object to represent the North Star

Conceptual Understandings

The moon changes shape in a cyclical pattern.

Why does the moon change in cyclical pattern over the course of a month?

Episode 1

Question

Does the moon change shape in a pattern?

Snapshot

Students observe the moon for two-four weeks in a simulation to argue from evidence and predict the patterns of how the moon changes shape in a cyclical pattern over 28 days.

Snapshot

Students gather information about the Sun, Earth, and Moon system by observing Universe Sandbox. Students reason about the cause of the pattern by developing a physical model of the Sun, Earth, and Moon System.

Episode 2

Question

Why does the moon's apparent shape change in cyclical pattern over the course of a month?

Conceptual Understandings

How the Sun, Earth, and Moon system works to cause the cyclical pattern of the moon.

Human models based on students understanding using notes, predictions, and observations.


Why does the moon’s shape appear to change over the course of a month?

 
 

Conceptual Understandings

The moon’s orbit around earth takes approximately 28 days.

How the sun, earth, and moon system work to create the specific patterns.


Names of the moon phases (Students will not be tested on these names.)

What are the different moon phases?

Draw own mental model of moon phases

Find or place moon phase on day 1, 3, 15, 26


Can I use my model to predict and explain moon phases?

Episode 3

Question

Why does the moon’s shape appear to change over the course of a month?


What are the different moon phases?

Snapshot

Students will create physical representations of the different phases of the moon

Students share in groups, their model of the moon phases. Students argue, with evidence, why their model is correct. Students discuss the specific shapes they see and label them according to their scientific names.

 

Snapshot

Given different phases of the moon, students will determine where each phase needs to be placed according to the moon phase cycle.

Episode 4

Question

Can I use my model to predict and explain moon phases?
 

Conceptual Understandings

The moon revolves around the earth causing the lunar phases we see on earth. From the phase we see on earth we can determine the location of the moon in its cycle.

What other patterns are observable because of the sun, earth, and moon system?

 

Conceptual Understandings

Sometimes the earth and/or moon will block the other from the sun’s light.

What does this look like? Why doesn’t it happen every moon cycle?  

Episode 5

Question

What other patterns are observable because of the sun, earth, and moon system?

Snapshot

Students will watch a video where they observe a midday eclipse. Students talk about the phenomena and try to explain the what could have caused the effect.  Students then read an article on solar and lunar eclipses.

Snapshot

Students will develop a model to construct an explanation from what they’ve read about eclipses in the article. Students will do a quickwrite to a younger 5th grader to solidify their understanding of eclipses.

Episode 6

Question

What does this look like? Why doesn’t it happen every moon cycle?  

Conceptual Understandings

The moon orbits around earth on a different orbital plane and an eclipse only happens when those earth’s orbit around the sun and the moon’s orbit intersect, causing it to be a rare occurrence.

What other patterns are observable that could be an effect of the sun, earth, and moon system?

 
 

Snapshot

Students will compare the lengths of a day in Alaska versus Utah and New York vs Sydney, Australia. The will collect and analyze their data and construct an explanation of why the days are longer in Alaska than they are in Utah.

Episode 7

Question

What other patterns are observable that could be an effect of the sun, earth, and moon system?

Conceptual Understandings

Each day different locations around the world experience different lengths of hours of sunlight.

Are there other factors that show a similar pattern with this data?

 

Snapshot

Students look for patterns between length of day and temperatures using a year of data.

Episode 8

Question

Are there other factors that show a similar pattern with this data?

Conceptual Understandings

Seasons are opposite  on the northern and southern hemispheres.

Why are the seasons opposite?

Conceptual Understandings

The tilt of the earth impacts the amount of direct vs indirect light different parts of the earth receives. It is also the reason we have seasons.

Can I use a model to explain how the tilt of the earth causes the seasons?

Episode 9

Question

Why are the seasons opposite?

Snapshot

Students read about seasons and how the tilt of the earth causes seasons.

 
 

Snapshot

Students obtain information by investigating through as simulation of the tilt of the earth. Students use what they’ve learned to create a model based on what they’ve learned about seasons and the tilt of the earth.

Episode 10

Question

Can I use a model to explain how the tilt of the earth causes the seasons?

Conceptual Understandings

The earth is tilted towards the North Star at  23.5 degrees. As the earth rotates and revolves, it stays tilted towards the North Star and experiences different seasons. Direct and indirect light.

Can I communicate how seasons are caused by the sun, earth, and moon system?