Emmy's Moon and Starsby: Francis Eberle, Page Keeley, and Joyce Tugel

Book ChapterDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

The purpose of this assessment probe is to elicit students’ ideas about the relative position of common objects seen in the sky. The probe is designed to find out if students recognize how far away the stars are in relation to the Earth and the Moon.

Grades
  • Elementary
  • Middle
  • High
Publication Date
1/1/2007

Community ActivitySaved in 270 Libraries

Reviews (21)
  • on Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:14 PM

I enjoy the fact that this piece uses a prompt question to provoke us as the reader to think about our answer just as we would do with student. I focused mainly on the Elementary aged portion of the reading in order to gather ways in which I would address the incredibly abstract thinking about the Universe and the Solar System. I think as a teacher I would try to look at perception and distance in our ever day life in order to show just how different an object can appear when it is far away. Using drawing and Earth-Moon-Sun system to begin the topic of Space seems appropriate for younger students. I was actually quite surprised about the depth of the middle school aged students, but many students are fascinated by our Universe and it’s best we allow them to learn as early as then are able.

Kristen
Kristen

  • on Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:06 PM

I love the assessment in this book. The multiple choice gives students a guide to the answer, but the explaination helps teachers really assess what they know. This is a great way to start a lesson. The information is written in a very simplistic way and given that science is not a strong subject of mine this was helpful. I need material that keeps my attention so that I can develop my science knowledge to be a better teacher and this book does just that. I really like how it breaks down the grade levels and what topics to focus on, as well as, what the author feels are children's capabilities at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. The suggestions for instruction and assessments are an excellent guide to classroom activities. I enjoyed this book and look forward to looking into the additional resources the author provides.

Katherine Hebron  (Baltimore, MD)
Katherine Hebron (Baltimore, MD)

  • on Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:03 PM

This resource is wonderful because it gives the teacher a view of how the information should be presented not just over one lesson or unit but from early grades on to much older students. I think that I would like to read more of the probes that get students thinking about what they are about to learn and give me an idea of where the children are in terms of understanding. Why spend days on something they already know. I think this could fit very well using the smart board and the response clickers (I'm not sure if that is the correct term for them). The first page that introduces the question could be projected up on the screen for the students and read aloud by either the teacher or the students depending on the age. To save time the students could select their answer by keying it in on the response pad. Instantaneously the teacher has the results.

Kathleen Chachich  (Hanover, MD)
Kathleen Chachich (Hanover, MD)

  • on Wed May 11, 2011 11:13 AM

This chapter appears to be a very valuable preview of a great resource! Teachers are constantly assessing student learning and what better way to do so than with fresh ideas that are varied and not boring. The teacher’s notes also would be helpful as they include a purpose for the assessment (what are you trying to assess?), related concepts, explanations, and curricular and instructional considerations for elementary, middle and high school students. The chapter also provides suggestions for instruction and assessment, related research and study guides as well as related resources and NSTA store publications and journal articles. This was only a preview but if this much information is provided for one assessment idea, imagine how much help 25 of these would be! I would definitely recommend this book to teachers looking for new assessment ideas.

Jennifer R  (Annapolis, MD)
Jennifer R (Annapolis, MD)

  • on Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:35 AM

I feel that as a teacher, this PDF file would be very beneficial to both an educator and students that are beginners in Astronomy. The Teacher’s Notes section was particularly beneficial to teachers. The section includes many resources for the educator to go in depth in their research to present to the students. The worksheet at the beginning of the file has the students critically think of a response. Their answers can help the educator to understand where the students are in terms of knowledge on the theme. The teacher will then know how to start her lesson. The file also includes information on standards and benchmarks that can determine whether the teacher will use this activity and when. Overall, I feel that this resource can be a necessity for first year teachers who do not know where to begin when making lesson plans.

Samantha Baccaglini
Samantha Baccaglini

  • on Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:59 AM

This is a brief discussion of a “probe” or question that can be used to assess students’ preconceptions about stars and their location relative to the Earth and Moon. It describes a simple yet effective assessment tactic that can be used at all grade levels, elementary through high school. Students have a wide variety of misconceptions about Earth/space science based on their own observations, fictional books, television and movies, and discussions at home. This resource gives teachers an overview of what their students can be expected to comprehend at different grade levels about Earth, the Moon, the Sun and other stars, and the vast distances between these objects in the sky. I appreciated this resource for its simple, concise, easy to implement method for Earth/space science pre-assessment.

Heather B
Heather B

  • on Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:58 AM

This is a brief discussion of a “probe” or question that can be used to assess students’ preconceptions about stars and their location relative to the Earth and Moon. It describes a simple yet effective assessment tactic that can be used at all grade levels, elementary through high school. Students have a wide variety of misconceptions about Earth/space science based on their own observations, fictional books, television and movies, and discussions at home. This resource gives teachers an overview of what their students can be expected to comprehend at different grade levels about Earth, the Moon, the Sun and other stars, and the vast distances between these objects in the sky. I appreciated this resource for its simple, concise, easy to implement method for Earth/space science pre-assessment.

Heather B
Heather B

  • on Tue May 11, 2010 11:19 PM

This is a great source to learn help teach children where the stars are in relation to Earth and the moon. It correlates well with the national standards and gives many suggestions for instruction. It gives activities for all grade levels from elementary, to middle school, to high school. It also has some great hands on activities and ideas dealing with telescopes. Lastly it gives you an ongoing activity dealing with daily observations of the night sky, which can continue throughout the year.

Leanne Palmer  (, )
Leanne Palmer (, )

  • on Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:29 PM

As a new teacher, one of the hardest areas for me is figuring out how to assess students. This book gives twenty-five different ideas for assessing students on a space unit for students in both elementary school and middle school. I think this book would be very useful for teachers whose strong point isn't space and find it hard to come up with ways to assess their students.

Daniele Surkovich  (Ellicott City, MD)
Daniele Surkovich (Ellicott City, MD)

  • on Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:50 AM

A great book filled with ideas to get students to think about the moon and stars. Many options for differing levels of ability. Includes assessment ideas as well.

Roxanne Massarelli
Roxanne Massarelli

  • on Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:14 PM

I think that this resource is a great tool that teachers can use in the classroom. It allwos the students to first, make predictions based on what they have seen on their own, and then they are able to test that. This also give great explanations into how to express certain ideas pertaining to the sky and stars. I also that the projects that the source suggests are easy ways the the students and continually be engaged in the subject matter. Great little ideas for the classroom, especially younger kids!!!

Mary M  (Crofton, MD)
Mary M (Crofton, MD)

  • on Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:55 AM

This assessment question was highly useful for any teacher involving students. The multiple choice facet along with the written element allows for individual differences in education, age and skill level. A drawing section would be additionally supportive for multicultural and English as-a-second- language learners. Information helping to target typical levels of abstract thinking formation helps teachers know what to expect at what age. Additionally, science can be seen as an unfolding field of information rather than a set of set facts as evidenced by the inclusion/exclusion of Pluto as a planet here.

Jillian R
Jillian R

  • on Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:13 PM

This is definitely a helpful handout for teachers who are teaching whatever grade because it includes useful guides for each level from Elementary to High School. It also shows teachers what each grade is expected to learn and it gives a few examples and ideas for each lesson the students are expected to learn.

Susan  (Columbia, MD)
Susan (Columbia, MD)

  • on Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:27 PM

I really enjoyed the first assessment that probed students thought. I like how it asks what students think and asks for students to explain themselves. This is useful for teachers because it will help teachers figure out where the student needs more help and teachers will be able to change around their lesson plans to foster the child's learning. I also think it is a great idea that the article was not only for a certain grade level but it has alternatives to teach the students depending on what grade they were at, the activities were made for all grade levels which also shows how much this information can be used to help all grade levels.

Eunice
Eunice

  • on Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:28 PM

I like the ideas of using this as a pre-assessment to check students' knowledge of the distance of the stars. It could be given as is for children who read and write independently or done orally for younger students.

Amy Kelly
Amy Kelly

  • on Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:49 PM

This is an excellent resource, especially for the beginning teacher. The book chapter starts out with a good assessment probe and has an accompanying explanation. The explanation provides some background knowledge that is extremely helpful. The instructional considerations section also is very useful. It goes over what the emphasis at different grades should be as well as what concepts will be out of reach for the students. The concepts that are out of reach would be good resources to develop for those students with higher level thinking as a way to differentiate instruction. In addition to the emphasis at the different grade levels, the chapter goes over what ideas and concepts should be focused on and how to build on knowledge. One area discussing the nine planets is outdated, but it doesn’t affect the overall chapter or ideas presented. It would have been nice if the chapter included sample lesson plans and assessment ideas. However the resource as a whole is very useful and clearly presented.

Sarah  (, )
Sarah (, )

  • on Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:09 PM

This is a very useful article for teachers so that they can determine what fallacies students hold about scientific concepts and what to do to correct those fallacies. Formative assessments are great tools to encourage learning and to discover students’ misconceptions based on prior knowledge. Formative assessment probes are a type of formative assessment. This form of assessment is particularly helpful for teachers so that they can determine what fallacies students hold about science concepts and what to do to correct those fallacies. This chapter in the book focuses on students’ conceptions about the position of stars in relation to Earth and Moon. I like that the author breaks down the misconceptions students may hold by grade level and connects concepts related to the probe to the National Science Education Standards . The assessments and instruction section is also helpful to teachers.

Okemeteri
Okemeteri

  • on Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:26 PM

When reading this book chapter, I found some of the material helpful for teachers and some things lacking information. I thought that it was really clever to open with a question that pre-assesses the knowledge of the reader. This is a good way to capture the reader’s attention and also test their knowledge on this topic. It is also helpful in providing teachers with ideas on opening discussions about this topic in class. In addition, I liked how this article was formatted in a clear way giving examples of what teachers can do with all levels of students. One specific thing I like is when the authors discussed how to administer the probe. This is because they helped teachers realize that not all students are coming with the same background and gave examples on how to show and explain this topic in different ways. I also like that they made suggestions on how to implement this kind of lesson plan. This can be helpful for both new teachers and teachers that are less knowledgeable with this subject. That being said, I do feel that because this subject is such a broad one, teachers should only use this article as a starter to get more ideas and more necessary material. I feel that they touched on many little aspects of this topic and how to implement it but nothing deep enough to make this the only one a teacher uses. As a new teacher, I think that I would probably take only bits and pieces from the article and form some ideas this article brings but not use it all

Revital Curtis
Revital Curtis

  • on Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:51 PM

I am a great fan of formative assessments as a way to identify and address misconceptions. This assessment probe is especially used at the elementary level. I think some middle school but very few high school students would miss this probe. Yet many middle and high school students do have trouble understanding the scale of distances and sizes of objects in the solar system. The general discussion of how knowledge of the universe develops is valuable.

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn

  • on Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:15 AM

This resource provides a lot of information on the stars and the moon and their relationship to Earth. However the information is presented in a way that one would use to explain it to an adult. Yes, the resource is for a teacher, however, the information is complex to the point that it may be difficult to translate to something that would matter to a student. I do think the "activity" could be useful as a pre-assessment for the subject, however I use the term "activity" loosely as it is one multiple choice question with a written response. This leaves the students listening to a lecture that they either don't need because they answered correct or more confused because they can't understand what is being explained to them. Either way they are bored, not engaged, and inactive. This may be a helpful resource as background for a teacher, but it is not, in my opinion, a useful tool for use in the classroom.

Patrick Newcomer
Patrick Newcomer

  • on Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:40 AM

This article doesn't really give any new or exciting ideas. It goes over basic benchmarks for students regarding the concepts of distances in space. The intro activity I thought was good for elementary students and maybe middle. I think high school students would view it as a joke. The article was useful in providing benchmarks and concepts students should know but that was about it.

Gina L
Gina L


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