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What is Astronomy? A Look at Space, Celestial Objects and the Universe

Objectives:

  • The students will learn about astronomy.

  • The students will be able to define the terms: astronomy, astronomer, and telescope.

  • The students will be able to name famous astronomers and explain their contributions to astronomy.

  • The students will be able to describe the five fields of astronomy.

Questions that encompasses the objective:

  • Think about the Solar System. How did we learn that there are planets, stars, and other objects in space?

Prepare the Learner: Activating Prior Knowledge. 

How will students prior knowledge be activated?

Warm up by asking students:

  • What do you know about astronomy?

  • Can you name any famous astronomers?

Common Core State Standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1 B

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.4

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.2

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2 B

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.1

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.4

Materials and Free Resources to Download for this Lesson: 

**When the unit is over, download the final assessment for all of the lessons on space for free.

**Here's the answer key.**

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Input:
What is the most important content in this lesson?
To reach this lesson’s objective, students need to understand:

  • The field of astronomy and its importance in science.

  • The definitions to the terms: astronomy, astronomer, and telescope.

  • The names of famous astronomers and their contributions to astronomy.

  • The five fields of astronomy.

How will the learning of this content be facilitated?

  • For the first few minutes, the students will fill out the “What I Know About Astronomers” worksheet.

  • The teacher will begin the class by handing out the “Guess the Astronomer” worksheet. On the worksheet is a box with the names of the three famous astronomers: Galileo Galilei, Nicolaus Copernicus, and Isaac Newton. There will be nine questions (three for each of the astronomers). The teacher should allow the students about 10 minutes to read through each question and write down their guess of which astronomer refers to each question. The teacher should tell the students that each astronomer will have three statements on the worksheet. At the end of 10 minutes, the teacher should review the worksheet with the students.

Worksheet Answers:

Galileo [G]; Newton [N]; Copernicus [C]

  • Believed the Earth was not the center of the Earth, but did not believe that the moon caused tides. (G)

  • First scientist to prove that the Solar System revolved around the Earth. (G)

  • Invented and improved the telescope. (G)

 

  • Defined the 3 laws of motion and universal gravitation. (N)

  • Invented the reflecting telescope in 1668. (N)

  • Explained that gravity helps the planet orbit around the Sun. (N)

 

  • Stated that the Sun is in the center and that the planets orbit around it (theory called “Heliocentrism”) (C)

  • Not only was he an astronomer, but a physician, scholar, economist, translator, mathematician, artist, and diplomat. (C)

  • Many people believe he started modern astronomy. (C)

  • After the worksheet is reviewed, the teacher will begin presenting the information on the Astronomers. If it is possible, project each page of the teacher’s copy of the “All About the Solar System” Science Journal worksheet onto the board using a projector or put into a PowerPoint document and project.  The teacher’s copy of the journal has certain words/phrases that are bolded red and highlighted. It is important the teacher explain to the students those words/phrases are to be highlighted in their (students) journal. For this lesson, the teacher should review these pages:

  • Page 9: History of Astronomy

**This page reviews what astronomy is and its history**

  • Pages 10-12: Famous Astronomers

**These pages will review the three famous astronomers from the beginning of class: Galileo Galilei, Nicolaus Copernicus, and Isaac Newton**

  • Pages 13-14:  Fields of Astronomy

**This page explains the different fields of astronomy: Observational; Theoretical; Solar; Planetary; Stellar**  

  • After the information has been presented, the students will break into pairs. On the board, the teacher should write the names of famous astronomers (See activity section). Each pair will pick an astronomer. Together, the students will create a poster board depicting what life was/is like for that astronomer. (Refer to materials section as to how information/research should be obtained). Allow the students about 15-20 minutes to complete the poster board.  

**Each student/pair can either present their “Planet” or a gallery walk can be set up. For the gallery walk, each pair will place their planet poster on desks throughout the room. The students will walk around and look at their peers’ poster**

  • After the presentation or gallery walk is over, the students should reconvene and the teacher should discuss the activities. The teacher should review the vocabulary words with the students.

  • The students will then fill out the “What I Learned About Astronomers” worksheet.

  • They will then share with the class, or with a partner, some things they wrote down in their “What I Learned About Astronomers” page.

 **The students should keep both of the "What I Know" and "What I Learned" sheets in a folder to put them all together into a book when the unit is finished.​**

Time/Application
3-5 minutes
Guided Introduction

Review the class/ agenda with the students:

  • Introductory Activity: “Guess the Astronomer” worksheet

  • Discussion: Science Journal (Pages 9-14)

  • Activity: “A Day in the Life… ”

  • Discussion of Activity

10 minutes

Introductory Activity: “Guess the Astronomer” Worksheet

  • Give each student a “Guess the Astronomer” worksheet.

  • Have the students read each statement and write which astronomer they think it refers to.

  • Review once the students have completed the worksheet.

15 Minutes

History of Astronomy | Famous Astronomers | Fields of Astronomy

  • Instruct the students to open to page 9 in their science journals.

  • Project each page of the science journal onto the board either through a projector or PowerPoint presentation.

  • The teacher copy has bolded red and highlighted words. The students will highlight those words in their science journal.

  • Begin presenting the information. The pages that will be presented include: pages 9-14.

15 Minutes

Activity: “A Day in the Life Of…”

  • Have the students break into pairs.

  • Give each pair a poster board and crayons/markers/colored pencils.

  • Instruct the pairs to choose an astronomer they would like to research.

  • Allow the students to work on their project for about 15-20 minutes.

  • Reconvene and discuss when the students are finished.  

**Each pair can either present the poster board or a gallery walk can be set up. For the gallery walk, each pair will place their poster board on desks throughout the room. The students will walk around and look at their peers’ poster board**

Closure/Assessment
10 minutes

  • After the presentation or gallery walk is over, the students should reconvene and the teacher should discuss the activities. The teacher should review the vocabulary words with the students.

  • The students will then fill out the “What I Learned About Astronomers” worksheet.

  • They will then share with the class, or with a partner, some things they wrote down in their “What I Learned About Astronomers” page.

 **The students should keep both of the "What I Know" and "What I Learned" sheets in a folder to put them all together into a book when the unit is finished.​**


Individualized Instruction/Scaffolding

English Language Learners will be supported in this lesson through data-based heterogeneous grouping, verbal and written repetition of new vocabulary words, and multiple representation of vocabulary words through printed images and video.