Teaching Through Trade Books: Celestial Studiesby: Christine Anne Royce

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Children love astronomy but the complex ideas associated with the topic often lead to misconceptions. This month’s column features simple activities for grades K-3 and 4-6 relating to the Sun and the Moon that can lay a foundation for solid understanding of some basic astronomy concepts.

  • Elementary
  • Middle
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Reviews (4)
  • on Wed May 04, 2011 10:38 AM

This article uses trade books called “The Moon Book” and “Anno’s Sundial” as a way to introduce astronomy to elementary students in grades K-3 and 4-6. Activities are suggested to provide a foundation to understanding the relationship between the sun and the moon. In particular the activities selected to accompany these books provide students with opportunities to make observations about the patterns in the appearance of the Moon and the Sun as well as draw inferences about Earth’s movement. For the younger grades they look at phase patterns and for the older students they look a sun shadows. The activities suggested closely align to the NSES. Starting a topic by reading a trade book is a good way to engage younger students.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:14 PM

Integrating language arts and science helps gets students excited about learning. This article discusses several trade books that can be used to introduce or reinforce scientific principles. The article also includes ideas for using the books in interdisciplinary lessons. I look forward to using a few of these books in my lessons soon!

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

  • on Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:37 PM

This article contains several trade books that deal with aspects of astronomy activities related to the Sun and Moon providing a foundation for understanding the concepts of astronomy. Anno’s Sundial, Mitsumasa Anno, utilizes pop up models of a sundial to show how the Earth’s movements around the Sun result in shadows. Shadows help us understand the apparent movement of the Sun across the sky. The sundial provides indirect evidence of the Earth’s movement by examining shadows. Within the article are activities to help students understand phase patterns (K-3) and Sun Shadows (4 – 6). Royce provides questions to help students examine the patterns they are observing.

Sandra Gady  (Renton, WA)
Sandra Gady (Renton, WA)

  • on Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:36 PM

This articles provided a great hook for a lesson on Sun observations? When asked "What Does the Sun Do For Us?" kids responded with light and heat, energy, food chain, but even when prompted to think about not just what you see or feel right now but over time they did not respond with "a way to tell time". It was a great moment to hear the debate begin about how we use the Sun to tell time, do we still need it? the importance in ancient artifacts like Stonehenge and in folktales...and then on to the story suggested "Anno's Sundial" and our own Sun shadow observations.

Caryn Meirs  (Smithtown, NY)
Caryn Meirs (Smithtown, NY)

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