Astronomy Lesson Plans

Need astronomy links for
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Lessons

Adopt-A-Constellation (Student worksheet provided)
Great Gravity (Student worksheet provided)
Moon Phases Activity (Student worksheet provided)

NOTE: Visit the Earth Science section of the Middle School Science site for great astronomy ideas!

Internet Lessons

Astronomy Scavenger Hunt (pdf) - A series of "Who am I?" questions to explore the history of astronomy. Contributed by Stacy Baker

Past and Present Scavenger Hunt (pdf) - Explore Roman and Greek myths and their relationship to astronomy with this worksheet from Stacy Baker. Visit the Nine Planets website to find the answers!

Surprise on Mars (pdf) - Worksheet created by Stacy Baker to explore Mars!

Also available ...
Astro Bingo (pdf) - Students use astronomy terms to fill in their bingo cards. Print the clues on an overhead transparency and cut apart. For more information, download the Science Bingo Teacher Tips (pdf), which includes a description of my version of bingo and a "blank" bingo card you can use for any topic.

Astronomy Word Search (pdf)

Constellation Word Search (pdf)

What's Your Sign? (pdf) - Create-A-Word challenge puzzle related to the 12 constellations of the zodiac.

Note For Teachers: Please take time to preview the links on any Internet assignment before you use it with your students. With the ever-changing nature of the Internet, links may be become broken or websites are no longer available. If you find a problem, please send me an e-mail.

Also available ... Lesson Plan Links for Astronomy
Links to my favorite online resources for lesson plans, activities, and worksheets.

Need Adobe Acrobat to view the worksheets on this site? Visit the Adobe site for details!

Check out "wearable" science projects at ScienceWear.net!

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Adopt-A-Constellation (T.(Trimpe) Tomm, Havana Junior High, Havana, IL)

This activity may be used as a stand along project or integrated with an astronomy unit. Students research a constellation using various reference materials (such as internet links, see Kids Links), create a "view" of their constellation, and complete a fact sheet. I allow at least two class periods for this project - one for research and another for constructing the viewer. The viewer makes an excellent assessment tool for tests - challenge students to identify constellations using the viewers created by their classmates.

Student Worksheet: Adopt-A-Constellation (pdf)

Also try these lessons from middleschoolscience.com ...
Shoe Box Planetarium - http://www.middleschoolscience.com/shoeboxplanetarium.htm
Constellation Myth Project -
http://www.middleschoolscience.com/myth.htm

Other ideas ...
• Tami Cooper, a middle school educator in Eureka, suggests using black construction paper to make model constellations. Her students punch their designs on the black paper, then use the overhead to share their models with classmates. Students may use chalk to outline their constellation to help classmates visualize each constellation.
• My students and I built upon Tami's idea described above to make our own "star lab". I taped a copy of a monthly star chart onto a large piece of black construction paper. The students helped me create our "star lab" by punching out the stars in the constellations using the point on a compass. After all the constellations were identified, we placed the chart on the overhead (making sure the black paper covered the top surface) and projected the "star lab" onto a wall. Students used a laser pointer to highlight their contellation and shared several facts from their Adopt-A-Constellation project. It was a "cool" way to wrap up our constellation unit and didn't cost a ton of money!
NOTE: My projector uses a mirror and the students quickly noticed that wherever the laser pointed to on the screen/wall, it would also point to that spot on the star chart.
• Challenge your students to make 3-D models of their constellations. Visit the Galaxy Mapping page from Newton's Apple for more details.

Excellent Resources: Constellations for Every Kid by Janice VanCleave, Ranger Rick’s Nature Scope: Astronomy Adventures - contains background info and worksheets on an assortment of astronomy topics. Internet Skywatcher’s Diary will provide you with a wealth of constellation info (listed on the astronomy pages of my Kids Zone).

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Great Gravity (T.(Trimpe) Tomm, Havana Junior High, Havana, IL)

During this activity, students explore the gravitational force of other planets and the moon. Before the lab you will need to set up several safe "jumping" areas or choose an outdoor location. I instruct my students that they may take only one step before each jump. The follow-up assignment challenges students to create questions about the lab for their classmates.

Another version of this lab is completed in the 8th grade classes taught by Lauren Range. Her students analyze super balls, tennis balls, and basketballs to determine how high they would bounce on various planets in our solar system.

Student worksheet: Gravity Exploration (pdf)

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Moon Phases (Worksheet created by T. (Trimpe) Tomm for use with the Lunar Lollipops activity)
Visit the Lunar Lollipops webpage for more details about this great lesson! I used plastic golf balls as "moon pops" and placed a table lamp in the middle of my classroom. I used a marker to color one-half of each golf ball black and put them on wooden pencils.

Student worksheet: Moon Phases (pdf)

 Need more ideas? Visit my Astronomy Lesson Plan Links page!

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Activities, lessons, & worksheets available on any page of this web site are intended for use by a single teacher in his/her classroom or to share at educational conferences. Reproduction for commercial use or profit is not permitted without the express written consent of Mrs. Tracy Tomm. Visit my Frequently Asked Questions page for more details!

 

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Other Units:
Eagle Days
GPS Lessons
Adopt-An-Insect
Digging Into Science
Metric Mania