Lesson 5: Winter sky tour

Timeframe

This activity would work best if it was done as an evening observation session in which students and parents could participate in an orientation to the night sky.

  • 1 evening observation session

Objectives

301-19
Demonstrate how Earth's rotation causes the day and night cycle and how Earth's revolution causes the yearly cycle of seasons
302-13
Identify constellations in the night sky

General Objectives

Through this activity, students will become more familiar with the orientation and patterns of the constellations in the winter sky. Students will also have the opportunity to observe the night sky with the guidance of their teacher.

Curricular Connections

  • Social Studies: Greek and Roman history and mythology

Lesson Overview

The main component of this activity involves having students and their parents participate in an evening observation session.

Materials and Resources

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Star charts

  • Spring (GIF format, 14 KB)
  • Winter (GIF format, 15 KB)
  • Fall (GIF format, 13 KB)

Vocabulary

  • Constellations
  • pointer stars
  • asterism
  • ecliptic
  • zodiac

Developing the Lesson

  • Prepare star charts
  • Follow the script provided, pausing intermittently to ensure that students are following and can begin picturing the constellation patterns
  • Remind students to be patient and that for some of the patterns they will have to use their imaginations

Closure

After reaching the end of the script, return to the Big Dipper and point out constellations one more time. Many students will not see the constellation patterns until given a second opportunity.

Evaluation

This activity in intended to grab students attention and as a result does not necessarily need to be graded, although a grade could be assigned for attendance and participation if needed.