This activity will require approximately four 30-minute classes
105-6: describe how evidence must be continually questioned in order to validate scientific knowledge (e.g., provide examples of ideas, such as the flat Earth, the Earth as the centre of the solar system, and life on Mars, which were or are being challenged to develop new understandings of the natural world) Relationships between science and technology
106-3: describe examples of improvements to the tools and techniques of scientific investigation that have led to new discoveries (e.g., describe examples, such as the lunar buggy, the Canadarm, the Hubble telescope, and space probes, which have extended scientific knowledge)
206-5: draw a conclusion, based on evidence gathered through research and observation, that answers an initial question (e.g., conclude that simulated flour craters are deeper and wider when the marble is heavier or is dropped from greater heights)
300-23: describe the physical characteristics of components of the solar system - specifically, the sun, planets, moons, comets, asteroids, and meteors
Students will investigate the life cycle of a star, recognizing that all stars (including the Sun) have a life cycle that is determined by the mass of the star.
In this lesson, students are assigned a particular phase in the life of a star and will work in groups to research the phase. Students will prepare and present a poster to explain the phase. After all posters have been presented, the student posters will be mounted on the wall according to the correct sequencing.
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Begin with focus questions:
- Have you ever wondered how the Sun was born or how long it will live?
- If stars live for billions of years, how can we ever begin to study their life?
- How do you think astronomers are able to study the different phases of a star's life?
Commence the activities and remember to have fun.
Explain that the activities will be used to help students become better acquainted with the life cycle of stars and as a results, they will gain a deeper understanding of the Sun.
Divide students into groups of 3; assign each group to research one of the following phases:
Periodically monitor students' research to ensure that they are on task.
Once students appear to have enough research, direct them to begin assembling their poster presentations. If students are having difficulties with the research, the teacher may wish to use the KWL technique.
When all groups have their posters completed, reassemble the class and begin the presentations beginning with the group who researched the protostar phase. After the groups present, the teacher should interject with connections linking the phases. Proceed with the presentations until all groups have shared their findings.
All posters should be mounted sequentially on the wall.
As a closure to the activities, the teacher recaps the life cycle of a star showing the students the Life Cycle of a Star applet.
The best way to evaluate this activity is to evaluate student participation during group research, as well as the quality/quantity of research. The following rubric may be helpful for evaluations.