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Earth and Space Science

Teaching about space

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Iris Par Iris Par 4015 Points

Hi I am a student in saint peter's university. I am studying to become a teacher and am having a hard time coming up with activities when it comes to helping students understan Space. One idea that could work would be creating space slime. However this would not help students learning. I would like to know any ideas that can help students learn about space but having fun at the same time. 

Laurence Taylor Laurence Taylor 645 Points

Hi Iris,

In my experience space is one of the science topics that teachers are fortunate to have a natural buy in, or student interest. That being said, lesson plans that dont include this interest or includes hands on learning is an easy way to lose this natural interest. I am not sure if you are already teaching in a class room but if you are I would suggest starting the lesson with an acitivity to collect student interest and to check what background knowledge they may already have. Usually I find students have a high interest in searching for habitable planets, black holes and space travel, those may not directly fit any of your standards but you can create lessons that hit your standards and includes their interest.

For a starting lesson I would suggest letting them take over the learning with a group project building and teaching the class about one planet in our solar system, building a collective model. As part of their expectations you can include that they talk about why they think that their planet would, or wouldn't, be a good planet for humans to live on. Split the groups up and make sure all planets are covered, that way at the end you can arrage them in order and possibly even discuss the scale and distances between them and each other and the sun, depending on the grade level.

Depending on your grade level I would also suggest checking out the Exploratorium Science Snacks, they have a good lab/lesson on why stars twinkle. 

Diavion Wright Diavion Wright 3155 Points

Learning about space should be fun for the students but also informational. I think that you can start off by teaching students about the solar system and the objects in the solar system and have them make their own solar system. You can teach them the chacteristics of the planets and what it means for a planet to be a planet and then you can have them create their own planets using the characteristics. You can also teach them about lunar and solar eclips' and have them do an activity with a flashlight and different sized balls. You can also have them do paper plate planets, solar system play doh planets and particles in space, etc. 

Camillia Ledbetter Camillia Ledbetter 805 Points

Hey Iris,

 

I love the idea mentioned above about creating paper plate planets. Perhaps you could divide your students into 8 small groups and have each one specialize in a planet. Students could create the planet on one side and then list facts on the other side. Then the "solar system" can be displayed in the classroom. During this time of digital learning, perhaps you could make a template Google Slides that allows students to dive deeper into each planet. Then, students could create their own paper plate planet at home and present their facts through a Flip Grid.

Hope this helps!

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