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
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.
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
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.
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.