Astronomy Lesson Plans & Links

Internet Lessons

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 message using my contact form.

 

Classroom Lessons

Adopt-A-Constellation (T.Tomm, Havana Junior High, Havana, IL)
Targeted Concepts: Stars, constellations

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)

  • 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. Tomm, Havana Junior High, Havana, IL)
Targeted Concepts: Gravity, mass vs. weight, gravitational forces on other planets

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.Tomm for use with the Lunar Lollipops activity)
Targeted Concepts: Moon, phases, models

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 sticks (used for caramel apples.)

Student worksheet: Moon Phases (pdf)

 

Check out "wearable" science projects that can be used in your astronomy unit at ScienceWear.net!

 


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Science Teacher @ Havana Junior High, Havana, IL

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