Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Look to the Stars! Earth Science is such fun

My students always love talking about the universe. They come to me knowing tons about it already, and that's great. But as I slowly move through our curriculum guide I find that they aren't exactly clear how it all works. I have to stop every five minutes to answer the waggling hands in the air.

They have questions like, "Will a black hole suck up the Hubble Telescope?" Nope, kiddo. That telescope is in a low Earth orbit it isn't anywhere near a black hole.

"What will happen when our Sun dies out?" Our planet will more than likely wither away and become a cold barren rock.

Which leads to my next answer...

"No, you will not be around in the 10,000 years it will take for our Sun to burn itself out. Don't worry."

We usually take a look at our universe from the outside in. Starting with stars, moving to planets, and finishing with our Moon. I separate it into two sections of stars and planets and then the Moon. This way I can get more grades for the ole report card. Oh, and I've only got two weeks to cover all of this information. Don't you love it? We just took our stars and planets test today. I haven't graded those yet. I'm saving up all that fun.

I planned ahead for our Moon stuff this year. I had them start the Moon calendar as soon as we started talking about stars. This way we can at least see some of the phase changes for ourselves. Getting them to conceive how this happens on a cyclic pattern every month is difficult to say the least. But as we were filling in our Moon calendar they had tons of questions which will definitely help us later on (I hope).

Oh, and did I mention that we are doing our Moon Phase chart soon? Why am I excited? Because we use Oreo cookies to do it. YUM! It's a guilty pleasure to walk around showing them how to scoop out the cream to represent various phases while nibbling on a chunk of chocolatey goodness.

I've got some task cards up in my store that we use to quiz each other before we take an assessment. But my biggest fun is when they start bringing in their Solar System models. Who would have thought I'd get so excited over Styrofoam and poster board?

But that's just me.
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