I remember when I was young, the excitement of seeing the total eclipse. I must have been maybe 2nd grade. My mom and dad bought me an eclipse shirt with the special glasses to look at the sun. The works! Back then I understood that the sun and moon were crossing paths. That was about it. After watching/reading more of the scipack, I know exactly how it works! I was able to use my prior knowledge and make connections to the new information that I was learning. I know that this is a story that I can share with my students as I am teaching my unit. I also enjoyed learning about the moon phases. It is very cool to see why the moon looks like it does depending on the part of the cycle it is in. I can share this information with my niece later. She is going to be 4 years old but she loves to observe the moon. I will definitely show her why it has it's shape when she gets old enough to understand.

Tracie O'Keefe
Tracie O'Keefe
780 Activity Points

SciPacks are full of information!! I think it is great that you can relate your personal experiences to what you are reading and enhance your knowledge further. Sharing it with students is such fun and they love to hear that you have experienced something yourself! And you are hitting right on the NGSS goals.

Betty Paulsell
Betty Paulsell
48550 Activity Points

After watching/reading more of the scipack, I know exactly how it works! I was able to use my prior knowledge and make connections to the new information that I was learning. I know that this is a story that I can share with my students as I am teaching my unit.

That is wonderful Tracy !

Perhaps with your students as you do your unit on moon phases you might want to consider what kinds of prior knowledge your students have about moon phases. Have you heard of the formative assessment probes which uncover student ideas about concepts you are teaching ?

This one reveals what students understand about what is reflected light and such an important concept for students to know that moon phases are reflected light of sun when it shines on the moon.
Can It Reflect Light?
http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9780873552554.1
The purpose of this assessment probe is to elicit students' ideas about light reflection off of ordinary objects and materials. The probe is designed to find out if students recognize that all non-light-emitting objects that we can see reflect some light or if they believe that only certain types of objects reflect light.

There is actually a whole book of formative assessment probes on astronomy
Uncovering Student Ideas in Astronomy: 45 New Formative Assessment Probes

Here is one from that book on moon phases
http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9781936137381.23

[b]Chinese Moon
[/b]
The purpose of this assessment probe is to elicit students’ ideas about Moon phases when observed from different locations. The probe is designed to determine if students are able to take the “space point of view” when thinking about Moon phases and realize that the Moon will be in the same phase, no matter from where on Earth it will be viewed.

Perhaps you'll be asking your young niece what her ideas are about the moon !!

Best, Arlene

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
44543 Activity Points

Arlene, That was some awesome suggestions that you had regarding assessments. I will definitely look into those possibilities. I was thinking about how the Curiosity rover on Mars took images of the lunar eclipse in September. If you follow the link to the image gallery below, you can look at images 18 and 19 to see Curiosity's pics. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/gallery-indexEvents.html As an extension of your students' understanding, you could make connections between eclipses viewed from Earth and those viewed from Mars.

Lori Towata
Lori Towata
2805 Activity Points

Hi Lori, Wonderful extensions about Mars, the Earth and eclipses. One of my all time favorite images from the NASA Cassini project to Saturn is the Saturn Eclipse. If you look carefully to the left and just above the main rings in this image you will see a small blue dot. That is the EARTH ! http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110904.html

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
44543 Activity Points

Hello, all! This is such a fun thread. I'm a preservice teacher, so I have yet to teach any lessons aligned with NGSS. I love the idea of teaching content backed by real experiences, whether it's a natural phenomenon or something you witnessed firsthand. Especially when it's something you are passionate about, it makes the experience for your students that much more genuine when they can see that love for the topic in your eyes. I had a great teacher like this in middle school that got so fired up whenever she taught anatomy - I carry her spirit with me as I enter each classroom. 

When teaching Earth and Space Science in particular, it can be harder to transfer these real life examples into the classroom. Pictures and videos can suffice, but I think students would get much more out of the content if they could physically see it in real time! Do you have any suggestions or experience with trying to get your students to view these natural occurrences (eclipses, planets visible with the naked eye, etc.)? Thank you!

Abby Scheel
Abby Scheel
2520 Activity Points

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