Night Sky Lesson

Teacher: Kim Nickerson
Subject and grade level: Science, 3rd grade
Location: Newark, CA
Brief Description: Science lesson on natural objects in the night sky
Classroom context: 2nd/3rd grade combo class (7 second graders and 20 third grades); 10 English learners (1 Beginner, 2 Early Intermediate, 4 Intermediate, and 3 Early Advanced), and 3 Fluent-English-Proficient (FEP) students; elementary school in an urban/suburban community in Northern California.
Curriculum: FOSS Sun, Moon and Stars | Overview
California Science Standards Addressed: Next Generation Science Standards: ESS1 Earth’s Place in the Universe
Unit Learning Goals:

Students will
• Observe and record how the Sun, Earth’s star, rises in the east and sets in the west in a predictable pattern.
• Learn that Earth rotates on its axis, causing day and night. Day happens when a location on Earth is facing toward the Sun, and night happens when a location is facing away from the Sun.
• Understand that the exact path the Sun takes in the sky varies by season.
• Understand that shadows are the areas of darkness created when an opaque object blocks light and that shadows on Earth depend on the position of the Sun in the sky.
• Learn that Earth is one of several planets that orbit the Sun in the solar system.
• Learn that the Moon orbits Earth and can appear in the sky during both day and night; observe and record how the Moon changes its appearance or phase in a regular pattern over 4 weeks.
• Learn how useful telescopes are in studying the solar system, as they make distant objects look closer and larger.
• Learn that stars are suns positioned at great distances from Earth and form groups called constellations that appear to move together across the sky at night.
• Use tools to collect and analyze data to develop logical conclusions about the movements of objects in the sky.
• Predict the outcome of an event and compare the results with the prediction.

Note: To honor the teachers and students represented in the video, please keep in mind the complex nature of teaching, and to be constantly aware that there is much information not available to the video viewer. Thus, it is neither respectful or helpful to jump to large generalizations about the practice viewed. We suggest using a language of tentativeness when discussing video records of practice, and cultivating a stance of questioning and inquiry when analyzing the teaching we observe.

Part 1: Lesson launch (13:40)


Part 2: Science talk (22:56)


Part 3: Writing activity and closure (16:11)