It's Written in the Stars!
How it works:
What sign are you? What does your horoscope say? Do Pisces get along with Aquarians? How many times have you been asked questions like these? Children as young as seven or eight are familiar with the signs of the Zodiac. The Zodiac exists in many cultures: Chinese, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and more. This unit on astrology attempts to familiarize students of elementary age with the science of astrology. It will explain what astrology is, the mythology associated with each sign, the signs of the Zodiac, the character traits associated with each sign, and related vocabulary. The children will create narrative accounts about their character traits, illustrate the constellation of each sign of the Zodiac, and write and illustrate their own creative myths about an original "Zodiac Sign". They will use the computer as a technological tool for researching, drawing, and word processing. This unit will help give students a better understanding of how important the stars were to ancient people, and how we still let the stars influence our lives.
The use of the Internet for research is critical for this unit. Students will also require a word processing program such as Word or AppleWorks for writing the reports, and a drawing program like KidPix for illustrations.
1. Read and comprehend informational materials.
2. Produce a report of information.
3. Produce a narrative account (fictional or autobiographical).
4. Produce a narrative procedure.
5. Participate in group meetings.
6. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the rules of the English language in written and oral work.
7. Analyze and subsequently revise work to improve its clarity and effectiveness.
8. Demonstrate understanding of position and motion of objects.
9. Demonstrate understanding of objects in the sky.
10. Use technology tools to gather data and extend the senses.
Students are fifth graders of average ability. This project could work with 4th and 6th graders as well. Students need basic computer skills, such as word processing, drawing programs, and use of the Internet for research.
The value of this unit goes beyond technology. Of course, it reinforces and teaches the use of the Internet, word processor, and drawing programs, but the unit is an exciting one for students to learn. Who hasn't talked about their birth sign? Children are always curious about the stories and myths and gods of the past. They learn how ancient civilizations used the stars to tell stories about their gods and mortal people who were good or evil. They children read their horoscopes and can write horoscopes based on their astrological signs. The unit encourages creativity with the creation of original myths and constellations.
Make sure children know how to use the Internet for research. The teacher should research several sites that the children can go to. This will prevent the students from wasting time or going to irrelevant sites. Motivate the students by having them read their horoscopes and talk about what they mean.
About the teacher:
Bonnie Glasgold is a science enrichment teacher at P.S. 101, Brooklyn. She has been teaching for over twenty-five years. She uses the Workshop Model to teach science. She has been involved with Teachers Network for over six years. Bonnie has written many science curriculum units for TeachNet, and she also teaches the New Teachers' Online Survival Courses in Classroom Management and Violence Prevention.