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September 2010



 

 

  Grade 6 Astronomy Unit

The Pan-Canadian Science Curriculum recommends objectives for all science units in each grade as a way of unifying the science courses taught from province to province. Most provinces have adopted the objectives into their own curricula, and have designed courses around them.

Though grade 6 courses still vary slightly across the country, presented below is a complete unit plan which covers all of the objectives in the Pan-Canadian Protocol. This unit can be used as-is to cover many (if not all) of your provincial expectations, or modified as you see fit. The reference numbers given for each lesson below refers to the Pan-Canadian specific learning outcomes.

A complete listing of the Pan-Canadian Curriculum Objectives for grade 6 Earth and Space Science can be found here, while provincial curriculum objectives listed by province and grade can be found here.

For further activities designed for the grade 6 level, and expanding upon the topics presented here, take a look at the CSA grade 6 resources.


CSA grade 6 resources.

Finally, need an idea for a summative assessment activity? Check here!


Grade 6 Earth and Space Science: Space

300-23: Describe the physical characteristics of components of the solar system - specifically, the sun, planets, moons, comets, asteroids, and meteors

Lesson 1: An explorative journey through the solar system

Lesson Overview: The lesson involves dividing students into groups of 3 and assigning each group a planet to research (ensure that all nine planets will be covered). The groups will research their given planet for important characteristics and qualities and they will also construct a model of that planet out of Styrofoam balls. After completing the models, the teacher will guide the students on a walk, placing the planets at their correct distances from the sun as you go. As the planets are placed, the group that researched that planet will provide the rest of the class with information corresponding to it.

Other objectives included: 104-8, 205-8

Lesson 2: Your weight on other worlds

Lesson Overview: Through this lesson, students will become more familiar with the physical characteristics of the nine planets specifically which characteristics affect a person's weight on a given planet.

The lesson involves having students work individually with the Your Weight on the Planets applet to observe planetary data and make educated guesses and predictions as to what their weight would be on the Moon and on the other planets of the solar system.

Teachers may also wish to use the grade 9 version of this lesson to help students understand the difference between weight and mass.

Click here to see the grade 9 version.

Other objectives included: 104-8, 205-8

Lesson 3: The difference between comets, meteors and asteroids

Lesson Overview: Through this activity, students will become more familiar with both the unique characteristics and the similarities of comets, meteors and asteroids. Students will also learn how to group and sort information with the use of Venn diagrams.

This activity involves having students analyze and order a list of characteristics pertaining to comets, meteors, and asteroids.

Other objectives included: 205-7, 206-2, 206-5

301-19: Demonstrate how Earth's rotation causes the day and night cycle and how Earth's revolution causes the yearly cycle of seasons

Lesson 1: Building and using sundials

Lesson Overview: The main component of this activity involves having students construct and use sundials to determine the time of day and to gain a better

Other objectives included: 107-3

Lesson 2: The reasons for the seasons

Lesson Overview: By engaging students in a variety of activities targeting different learning styles (kinesthetic, visual, and technological), students will become familiar with the seasons, and will be able to explain the reasons for the seasons depending on the orientation of the sun, moon, and Earth.

The lesson plan is divided into four separate activities:

  • Activity 1: demonstration of seasons (students participate)
  • Activity 2: introduce the applet to later be used by students
  • Activity 3: in the computer lab, students work with the Reasons for the Seasons applet in groups of two
  • Activity 4: closure activity, teacher uses the applet in a lecture style delivery format stopping the animation at key moments and eliciting feedback from the students as to an explanation for the current seasons in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres

Other objectives included: 301-20

Lesson 3: The celestial sphere and circumpolar motion

Lesson Overview: In this lesson, students will view the applets, The Celestial Sphere and Circumpolar Motion , in a computer lab, to gain an understanding of the Earth's rotation, and how it affects our perception of stellar movement.

Other objectives included: 206-5, 301-19

301-20: Observe and explain how the relative positions of Earth, the moon, and the sun are responsible for the moon phases, eclipses, and tides

Lesson 1: The phases of the Moon

Lesson Overview: By engaging students in a variety of activities targeting different learning styles (kinesthetic, visual, and technological), students will become familiar with the phases of the moon, and will be able to explain the reasons for the lunar phases depending on the orientation of the sun, moon, and Earth.

The lesson plan is divided into four separate activities:

  • Activity 1: demonstration of the phases (students participate)
  • Activity 2: introduce the applet to later be used by students
  • Activity 3: in the computer lab, students work with the phases of the moon applet in groups of two
  • Activity 4: closure activity, teacher uses the applet in a lecture style delivery format stopping the animation at key moments and eliciting feedback from the students as to an explanation for the observed phase

Other objectives included:

Lesson 2: Solar and lunar eclipses

Lesson Overview: This activity involves two WebQuest Internet research components. Students will use the Internet links provided to research solar and lunar eclipses in an attempt to better understand the relationship between the sun, moon and Earth. Students will also be presented with fascinating eclipse pictures and a look at the astronomers who chase eclipses around the world. The last part of the lesson involves having students write an explanation as to how solar and lunar eclipses differ.

Other objectives included:

Lesson 3: Tides

Lesson Overview: Students in this lesson will be introduced to the concept of tides and tidal forces, and will be asked to discuss the benefits of tides to life on Earth.

Other objectives included:

301-21: Describe how astronauts are able to meet their basic needs in space

Lesson: Plan a mission to a recently discovered planet

Lesson Overview: Through role play, students will engage in a space planning mission. While planning their mission to a newly discovered planet, groups will need to consider one of many factors, including spacecraft design, distances in space, mission supplies, and qualifications for life-sustaining planets.

Other objectives included: 104-3, 104-8, 204-6, 204-8, 207-2, 300-23

302-13: Identify constellations in the night sky

Lesson 1: Exploring the constellations, a webquest activity

Lesson Overview: This activity is involves a WebQuest, or Internet research component, and a creative writing word-processing component. Students will use the Internet links provided to research the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere and then will choose one of those constellations to write a creative story as to how the constellation may have obtained its name.

WebQuest URL: http://www.astro.wisc.edu/~dolan/constellations/constellations.html

Other objectives included: 205-8

Lesson 2a: Tour the summer sky

Lesson Overview: The main component of this activity involves having students and their parents participate in an evening observation session.

Sky Maps: http://www.skymaps.com

Other objectives included: 205-8

Lesson 2b: Tour the winter sky

Lesson Overview: The main component of this activity involves having students and their parents participate in an evening observation session.

Sky Maps: http://www.skymaps.com

Other objectives included: 205-8

created and compiled by the CASCA education Webteam, (2009)

 
       

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