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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

What is astronomy?

HOW IT WORKS

After reading the first three chapters of the novel Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark, fifth- grade students learn to analyze components of the solar system and beyond, using the Internet for research on astronomy.

Teacher preparation steps include previewing Web sites; limiting the focus of contents for students; locating information on South America, life in the Andes mountains, and Inca lifestyles and tradition; reading Secret of the Andes in its entirety; and obtaining information on astronomy.

Student activities include reading the first three chapters of Secret of the Andes; discussing the Inca tradition of worshipping the stars and the sun, relating this information to their knowledge of astronomy, brainstorming about astronomy, and creating a semantic web. They search relevant Web sites, locate information in Grolier's encyclopedia, input information in databases, work in cooperative learning groups to write informative reports, and create artistic representations of researched topics using Kid Pix. A student from each group will read their report and share illustrations with the class.

Assessment methods include preparing a chart of facts learned from Secret of the Andes, focus questions on traditions linked to astronomy, reports from cooperative learning groups, and a test on the subject of astronomy.

WHAT YOU NEED

This program requires five class periods to complete. The novel, Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark, is used, along with a computer with Internet access as well as the software programs Claris Works and Kid Pix. The students also employ Grolier's Encyclopedia, maps, globes, and the Weekly Reader.

Teacher technology skills include word processing, Internet research, and the preparation of database spreadsheets. Student technology skills include word processing, graphic production, and an understanding of the research process.

OVERALL VALUE

In What Is Astronomy?, students combine science, English, and technology as they learn about astronomy, using computers and the Internet to gather information and present their findings in written reports that they present to their fellow classmates.

TIPS

Make sure students are familiar with the technology skills needed, and prepare them in advance with information about South America, the Andes, and the Incas.

STANDARDS

Students produce an informative report, demonstrate an ability to read and comprehend informational materials, demonstrate knowledge of the English language in written and oral work, and participate in group meetings.

RELATED LINKS

http://dir.yahoo.com/science/astronomy

Audrey Woloshin is a fifth grade teacher at P.S. 101 in Brooklyn, New York.

Email: hwoloshin@aol.com

Estimated Class Periods To Complete: 5

Subjects: English and Science

Beginning Grade Level: 5

Ending Grade Level: 5

 

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