Earth and Sky: Grades K-4


SciGuides are a collection of thematically aligned lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources for teachers to use with their students centered on standards-aligned science concepts.

"We all live under the same big sky." Since the beginning of time, humans have been intrigued by the objects in our sky and beyond. Take a voyage into space science where you will travel through the Internet to connect your classroom with content and activities designed to teach concepts related to these objects and changes in the sky over time.

  • Elementary

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Reviews (21)
  • on Fri Sep 19, 2014 10:52 PM

This is awesome. There are tons of great resources and ideas for multiple grades.

Christina Torango
Christina Torango

  • on Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:42 PM

SciGuides are really fantastic.When it's time to teach about the Earth and Sky, I can be confident knowing I'll have the Earth and Sky: Grades K-4 SciGuide to go to for lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources. I'll be able to create outstanding lessons in a shorter amount of time since many resources are easily accessible in this SciGuide.

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:44 AM

This is GREAT!! The lesson plans are great and the have video clips and even the script for it.

Mary Carder  (Stokesdale, NC)
Mary Carder (Stokesdale, NC)

  • on Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:11 PM

This SciGuide has a great resource to a website called “Windows to the Universe”. On this link there is information for students to learn about the reasons for the seasons. There is also information about constellations. Students can click on a few major cities to see what the constellation map should look like for that city at that particular date. All in all this SciGuide provides a link for a great resource. This SciGuide is also helpful because it has information for lower grade levels. Many of the SciGuides on NSTA seem to be geared towards older students. This provides a wealth of knowledge for the lower grades. There is also a wealth of knowledge for teachers.

Shawna Fischer
Shawna Fischer

  • on Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:48 PM

The Earth and Sky sciguide provided me with wonderful resources that I never knew were available. I try to use interactive activities as much as possible because I use a SMART board in my classroom. This sciguide provided me with many interactive resources to use on the SMART board with my class. The Earth and Sky sciguide provided new creative lesson ideas and hands on activities that I can use or adapt for my classroom. I really enjoyed using the practice quiz about weather, water cycle and climate. The students used it as a tool for review before we took our final test. The Earth and Sky sciguide was broken up into two content areas. There was a “Changes in Earth and Sky” section and an “Objects in the Sky” section. Each section was broken down even farther with links to resources related to the main topic. “Changes in Earth and Sky” was broken down into two subjects: Gravity links and Seasons links. The “Objects in the Sky” was broken down into three categories: Moon links, planet links and sun links. Each section included lessons plans, hands on investigations, online interactivity, graphics, assessments, data sources, news and more.

Sara K
Sara K

  • on Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:32 PM

Fewer resources and depth, but that is understandable since it is for lower elementary. There was still gobs of stuff that I had forgotten or never learned. The timing of our Solar System is so perfectly timed that you can mathematically make all kinds of predictions. I use to wonder how the ancients figured out eclipses. There is something called saros. “The saros is the roughly 18-year periodic cycle of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. Every 6,585 days, the Earth, Moon and Sun are in exactly the same position. When there is a lunar eclipse, there will also be one exactly 6,585 days later.” Wow! When we tour our little corner of the Universe we can use math to time travel forward and back. I use to tell this to my class, but I had a very limited understanding of how to do this practically. With ideas like Saros, this becomes rather simple. I also learned how our Moon is slowing down and drifting farther from earth. We can calculate where the moon was previously and were it will be a million years from now. I would like to take my class on an investigation on what this meant for tides in the past and what impact this will have in the future.

Floyd  (Honolulu, HI)
Floyd (Honolulu, HI)

  • on Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:15 AM

Good hands on lessons for seasons, phases of the moon, and earth/ sun.


  • on Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:16 AM

When I first took a look at the Sci-Guide Earth and Sky K-4 Seasons I was quite disappointed. I didn't see the lesson plan that was off to the side. I immediately focused on the links that were located in the center where I thought the meat and potatoes of the guide would be. I took a look at the first couple and did not find anything new that I could use in my class and decided to check the rest of the guide at a later time. I finally got a chance to give it another look about a week later. I made sure that I had set aside enough time to look through the whole guide more thoroughly. I also to look at the posts of others which helped me navigate the Sci-Guide more successfully this time. To my amazement I was able to find the lesson plan that went with this Sci-Guide. Although the lesson was good I was looking for more hands on lessons that I could implement right away in my class. I also wanted more selection of lessons to choose from. After looking through all the links and seeing all the great ideas that were on the other websites I finally found what I was looking for. I found some great ideas for lessons that would explain the earth's rotation and how to get my students more active participants in learning about the reasons for our seasons and how the earth rotates around its axis. I would recommend this Sci-Guide to others and make sure that they look carefully through the links to find some other great ideas on how to teach earths rotation and orbit.

Reid Fukushima
Reid Fukushima

  • on Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:17 AM

I wanted to check out this SciGuide specifically for the lesson on why we have seasons. I have always struggled to have my students gain understanding in this area. There's not a lot to the reason itself (basically the tilt of the earth and the direct/indirect sun rays) but I think to understand the entire concept of seasons and why have them takes a lot of prior knowledge and understanding that my students don't have. But anyway, I like the lesson on the seasons presented in this SciGuide because it's very explicit and rather comprehensive. The links are excellent too. You can have kids explore them or do it together if you have the capability. However, some of the links must be old because they wouldn't load or I got redirected to something different. I think if I have time I'd start with the lesson on "Planetary Posters" to give the students a better understanding of the concept of a solar system, what that means and what that looks like. Many don't have that basic understanding.

Nicole Takamura
Nicole Takamura

  • on Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:42 PM

I like how this SciGuide is divided into sections. The Internet links are divided into “moon”, “sun” and “planets” and are very relevant for teaching space science benchmarks. The links are also divided further into “teacher” and “student” sections so they can be easily navigated through to find what you need. I don’t remember this from the last SciGuide I reviewed, but this guide has a filter you can use to quickly sort through the links and find key items, such as “investigations”, “assessments”, etc. This SciGuide can be used in my teaching of third grade space science: *3.8.3 Safely observe and describe basic movements of the sun and moon. *3.8.4 Describe that constellations stay the same, though they “appear” to move across the night sky. The lesson “Hello Sun” has an inquiry element for observing movements in a day. The link to “Earth Viewer” shows daytime and nighttime portions of the Earth for any day of the year. This helps students to see the movements of the moon and sun by viewing where the sunlight is shining on Earth and where the darkness is. I like how this guide has many student-friendly sites and games for practice. My only suggestion is to include more teacher links to lesson plans.

Alayna M
Alayna M

  • on Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:54 PM

This SciGuide is very informative. It is both grade and age appropriate for students in Grades K-4 who have little comprehension of how gravity works, but can start to see its effects through observable patterns in the day and nighttime. It addresses changes that affect our lives such as gravity and seasons. It contains two themes: 1) Change in Earth and Sky. 2) Objects in the Sky. Each theme has a lesson plan that you can download along with samples of students’ work. Each theme has also keywords with valuable resources including interactive and informative websites. I believe this SciGuide is a great resource that includes valuable information and samples that could be used to enhance the learning experience in any classroom.

Shahinaz Nassar  (Wailuku, HI)
Shahinaz Nassar (Wailuku, HI)

  • on Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:20 PM

The Earth and Sky SciGuide was a good resource for integrating the solar system into my teaching. The SciGuide was broken into two sections; Changes in the Sky and Objects in the Sky. It is then broken into into five themes, gravity, seasons, moon, sun and planets. This site includes lesson plan ideas on the seasons and the planets with rubics and student work. Other teaching resources are current data, vignettes, web-based resources, simulations and video clips with instructional videos also. Having the many on-line resources were very helpful in showing the students what is being covered. I appreciated that I did not need to look in many different resources from all over the place in order to carry out this lesson. Although I did still need to use resources that were not part of the sciguide in order to complete this lesson.

Liamarie Thomas
Liamarie Thomas

  • on Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:20 PM

This was a great sciguide for me. Since I teach Kindergarten, two of our untis that we address in science are: weather and gravity. There were tons of hands on interactive activities that I could look at and even get some of my higher leveled students to try. I also liked the sample ideas that the sciguide gave that could help me make my lesson more understandable to my students especially since they are so young. This sci guide tied in perfectly to our current HCPS Standards.

Deanna Spain
Deanna Spain

  • on Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:04 PM

I teach an inclusion science class that consists of 10 special education students and 12 regular education students. Our class is also grouped homogeneously. I am currently teaching Earth and Space Science. The Changes in the Earth and Sky (K-4) SciGuide was a very useful tool for me. I like how it gave me resources to content, activities, and assessments for teaching about gravity and the seasons and how it affects our solar system. There were two sections: 1) Gravity and 2) Seasons. When you click on either one of them, they give you specific lesson plans, hands on activities, and all sorts of valuable materials that you can use in the classrooms. I was able to use those lesson plans and modify them to the needs of my students. But having the lessons there to use as a model really helps.

Cori Lyn Shikuma
Cori Lyn Shikuma

  • on Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:30 PM

“The Earth and Sky: Grades K-4 SciGuide” will help teachers find resources to enhance their own knowledge as well as their science lessons related to the topics of the earth and sky. This SciGuide links users to internet opportunities that can assist teachers with connecting space science content and activities to lessons in their classrooms. The SciGuide focuses on two themes, that of “Changes in Earth and Sky” and “Objects in the Sky.” “Changes in the Earth and Sky” focuses on gravity and the seasons. “Objects in the Sky” focuses on the moon, planets, and the sun. By selecting the links for each of these themes, the user is directed to activities, interactive games, lesson plans, and other material that can both expand the teacher’s knowledge and provide the teacher with materials to enhance their lessons on these topics.

Veronica Winegarner
Veronica Winegarner

  • on Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:25 AM

I felt that this sciguide was very useful for helping me think of how to implement lessons on the solar system into my classroom. One of the standards that I have is to teach the solar system and how the moon changes in the sky. This sciguide has different links to websites that shows you creative hands on activities for children. We have science programs that we can follow, but this sciguide offers more interactive websites that I can incorporate technology with and great projects that the students can focus on. The link that I liked the most was the Starchild: The Solar System. This link was kid friendly and it broke down the Solar System to make it easier for the students to observe each planet separately. One problem that I found was that some of the links didn’t work, limiting what the sciguide had to offer. As I was reading some of the descriptions to the links, I was excited to learn more about it, but I kept getting messages saying that there was an error and the webpage could not be found. So that was a little disappointing. Overall, I really do enjoy looking at the sciguides to give me different ideas on how I can use what I see from the sciguide and revise it to fit the needs of the standards and my class.

Nohelani K
Nohelani K

  • on Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:01 PM

the Earth and Sky Sci guide is a great resource for the classroom and what teacher can say they have too many of those? It covers two themes changes in the earth and sky and objects in the sky. In an easy to use chart it includes lesson plans as well as samples of student work.

Kari  Landry  (, )
Kari Landry (, )

  • on Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:46 PM

The Earth and Sky (K-4) Sciguide was a suitable resource to integrate the solar system into my teaching. The Sciguide was broken down into two sections; Changes int he Sky and Objects in the Sky. Then it is sectioned inot five themes, gravity, seasons, moon, sun, and planets. The site involves lesson plans on the seasons and the planets with rubrics and studnet work. Also, video clips, data, and vignettes. I foundthe interactive resources to be most helpful, but I would have appreciated additional lesson ideas and website links. In addition to taking time to research lesson ideas and resources, the online discussion participants were able to provide many usful sites and lesson ideas.

tara Soleta  (Honolulu, HI)
tara Soleta (Honolulu, HI)

  • on Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:37 PM

The Earth and Sky (K-4) SciGuide was an adequate resource for integrating the solar system into my teaching. The SciGuide was broken into two sections; Changes in the Sky and Objects in the Sky. From here it is broken down farther into five themes, gravity, seasons, moon, sun and planets. The site includes lesson plan ideas on the seasons and the planets with rubrics and student work. Other teaching resources are current data, vignettes, web-based resources, simulations and video clips with instructional videos as well. The web-based content and simulations were the most helpful resources in my teaching. I used the simulation in my classroom and the students were very captivated and learned a lot. I felt that the site could have offered more lessons and more websites. The lessons were limited and narrowly focused. I also found that several sites were outdated and no longer functional. I wanted the SciGuide to help cut down the time I spent searching on the Internet for credible sites, but I didn’t feel that I acquired as many sources and I still had to find many sites on my own our through the collaboration of the online discussions.

Katherine Tierney  (waipahu, HI)
Katherine Tierney (waipahu, HI)

  • on Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:17 AM

The Earth and Sky SciGuide is broken into two sections, Changes in the Earth and Sky and Objects in the Sky. These sections are then broken into subtopics, Gravity, Seasons, Moon, Planets, and Sun. These topics are helpful to find specific information on that subject, however, they only have website links listed and no lesson plans. I am currently teaching about moon phases, so the moon section of this SciGuide provided me with online resources, like the student links, which are interactive and engaging. Overall, I am disappointed with this SciGuide because there is no specific lesson plans. Most of the links had good information, but it would help if these websites were categorized by grade level. Also, I had problems getting some of the links to load or open at all and there are some website links that take you to another page with links on it, which can be confusing.


  • on Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:53 PM

Students will be able to study changes in the sky using the online resources provided in this SciGuide. Unfortunately many of the links on gravity do not work. Some of the online graphics require Flash to view them. I found this SciGuide somewhat helpful. I think many of the resources need to be updated. There are lesson plans on the sun, moon, and planets and why we have seasons.

Dawn Nishimoto
Dawn Nishimoto

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