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Technology and visual representations offer many ways to engage students in active inquiry. In this article students use planetarium software to gather data about the Moon.
Learning about the moon is a fundamental concept taught in most elementary class can be enhanced using technology. Technology and visual representations together provide paths that engage students in active inquiry. The technology adapted for this approach is one called ‘Starry Night.’ The article explains how this program is incorporated within the lesson. The software is not free and offers 3-D options. The article also provides other software options including ones that are free. The article includes a rubric for assessment as well as other helpful hints.
Adah (San Antonio, TX)
This article shows how younger students can use a computer program like Starry Night Backyard to collect and analyze moon data. Unlike the limitations of real-time observations, students can move forward or backward in time and collect a full week’s worth of observations in a matter of minutes. The planetarium software program supports the development of science process skills, too. Children are able to make predictions, test hypotheses, and draw conclusions based on the various data collected. The students are required to keep a moon journal; a sample entry page is displayed, and a rubric (Figure 3) used by one of the authors to assess her students’ work is included. For schools with iPhone access, the iPhone Moon Phase app is also mentioned. This article provides an excellent way to integrate technology and space/earth science concepts into a K-2 science curriculum.
Carolyn M (Buffalo Grove, IL)
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