Fifth Grade Unit 2: Astronomy

Stage 1 - Desired Results

Establish Goals:

What relevant goals (e.g. content standards, course or program objectives, learning outcomes) will this design address?
Science 5. The solar system consists of planets and other bodies that orbit the Sun in predictable paths.
Language Arts 2.3 Write research reports about important ideas, issues, or events by using the following guidelines:
  1. Frame questions that direct the investigation.
  2. Establish a controlling idea or topic.
  3. Develop the topic with simple facts, details, examples, and explanations.


Students will understand that . . .
• What are the big ideas?
We live in a big universe that's been around for a long time
• What specific understandings about them are desired?
Our place in the Universe
When we see things in telescopes from far-away, it's also from LONG-AGO

• What misunderstandings are predictable?
Mistakes of scale, thinking the Earth is at the center of things, not understanding we are part of larger systems (solar, galaxy, etc.)

Essential Questions:

What provocative questions will foster inquiry, understanding, and transfer of learning?
How old is old, how far is far?

Essential Background:

• What background knowledge and skills will students need to have or be brought up to speed on and how will this be done?
Concepts of night and day, and how things change with the seasons here on Earth

Students will know . . .

• What key knowledge and skills will students acquire as a result of this unit?
Heliocentrism; seasonality and the tilt of the earth; order of planets; stars and where the place of each is.
• What should they eventually be able to so as a result of such knowledge and skills?

Students will be able to know . . .

  • Think of these as secondary skills / content

Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence

Performance Tasks:

• Through what authentic performance tasks will students demonstrate the desired understandings?
Report on an aspect of astronomy. Research a planet or a constellation and possibly write some sort of report.
• By what criteria will performances of understanding be judged?

Other Evidence:

• Through what other evidence (e.g. quizzes, tests, academic prompts, observations, homework, journals) will students demonstrate achievement of the desired results?
• How will students reflect upon and self-assess their learning?

Stage 3 - Learning Plan

Learning Activities:

Week One
learn about Galileo's discoveries and heliocentrism
sharing what we know about astronomy, stars, space, and planets
watch first half of Galileo moive
answer question, share what we know about astronomy in a blog post
Week Two
learn about how our Sun and Earth work together
learning about how the Sun along with the Earth's tilt, cause seasons
solstice models and slideshows
answer the question, how does tilt of the Earth create winter and summer?
Week Three
learn about our solar system
picking a topic to research on astronomy
show Hubble video
write two possible topics to research on the subject of astronomy
Week Four
researching a topic and how to do it
understand how to paraphrase and get the main idea, and NOT plagiarize
model how to find the main idea
write the main idea about a piece of expository text
Week Five
learn about radio telescopes, how they work, and what they can "see"
working on our research projects
contribute to VoiceThread and continue work on research project