• Astronomy


    Subject: Astronomy

    Grade:11-12
    Timeline:
    18 weeks
    Semester Title:  Earth’s Place in the Universe


     

    Earth's Systems and Processes Overview: 

    Students in the Astronomy course continue to develop knowledge in the core disciplinary idea in the Earth and Space Sciences described in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) including: Earth's Place in the Universe.  In Earth's Place in the Universe students answer the question, "What is the universe, and what is Earth's place in it?" The sub-ideas students investigate include: the universe and its stars.


     

    Objectives: The objectives of this semester are to apply the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Crosscutting Concepts that bridge disciplinary boundaries, uniting core ideas throughout the fields of science and engineering.

     

    1. Patterns.  Observed patterns of forms and events guide organization and classification, and they prompt questions about relationships and the factors that influence them.

    2. Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation. Events have causes, sometimes simple, sometimes multifaceted. A major activity of science is investigating and explaining causal relationships and the mechanisms by which they are mediated. Such mechanisms can then be tested across given contexts and used to predict and explain events in new contexts.

    3. Scale, proportion, and quantity. In considering phenomena, it is critical to recognize what is relevant at different measures of size, time, and energy and to recognize how changes in scale, proportion, or quantity affect a system’s structure or performance.

    4. Systems and system models. Defining the system under study—specifying its boundaries and making explicit a model of that system—provides tools for understanding and testing ideas that are applicable throughout science and engineering.

    5. Energy and matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation. Tracking fluxes of energy and matter into, out of, and within systems helps one understand the systems’ possibilities and limitations.

    6. Structure and function. The way in which an object or living thing is shaped and its substructures determine many of its properties and functions.

    7. Stability and change. For natural and built systems alike, conditions of stability and determinants of rates of change or evolution of a system are critical elements of study. 


    Focus Standards:

     

    3.3.12.A1:
    Explain how parts are related to other parts in weather systems, solar systems, and earth systems, including how the output from one part can become an input to another part.
    Analyze the processes that cause the movement of material in the Earth’s systems.
    Classify Earth’s internal and external sources of energy such as radioactive decay, gravity, and solar energy.
     

    3.3.12.A7:

    • Interpret and analyze a combination of ground-based observations, satellite data, and computer models to
      demonstrate Earth systems and their interconnections.
    • Infer how human activities may impact the natural course of Earth’s cycles.
    • Summarize the use of data in understanding seismic events, meteorology, and geologic time.
     

    3.3.12.A8:

    ·    Examine the status of existing theories.
    ·    Evaluate experimental information for relevance and adherence to science processes. 
    • Interpret results of experimental research to predict new information, propose additional investigable questions, or advance a solution.
    • Judge that conclusions are consistent and logical with experimental conditions.
    • Communicate and defend a scientific argument.

    3.3.10.B1:

    ·        Explain how gravity is responsible for planetary orbits.

    ·        Explain what caused the sun, Earth, and most of the other planets to form between 4 and 5 billion years ago.

    ·        Provide evidence to suggest the Big Bang Theory.

    ·        Describe the basic nuclear processes involved in energy production in a star.
     

    3.3.12.B1:

    ·        Describe the life cycle of stars based on their mass.

    ·        Analyze the influence of gravity on the formation and life cycles of galaxies, including our own Milky Way galaxy; stars; planetary systems; and residual material left from the creation of the solar system.

    ·        Relate the nuclear processes involved in energy production in stars and supernovas to their life cycles.

    ·        Eligible content may be assessed using knowledge and/or skills associated with the Nature of Science.
     

    NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas:

     

    Earth's Place in the Universe

     

    ESS1-A: The Universe and Its Stars.

     

    The star called the Sun is changing and will burn out over a lifespan of approximately 10 billion years. The study of stars' light spectra and brightness is used to identify compositional elements of stars, their movements, and their distances from Earth. The Big Bang Theory is supported by observations of distant galaxies receding from our own, of the measured composition of stars and non-stellar gases, and of the maps of spectra of primordial radiation (cosmic microwave background) that still fills the universe. Other than the hydrogen and helium formed at the time of the Big Bang, nuclear fusion within stars all atomic nuclei lighter than and including iron, and the process releases electromagnetic energy. Heavier elements are produced when certain massive stars achieve a supernova stage and explode.

     

    ESS1-B: Earth and the Solar System

    Kepler's laws describe common features of the motions of orbiting objects, including their elliptical paths around the sun. Orbits may change due to the gravitational effects from the Sun. Orbits may change due to gravitational effects from, or collisions with, other objects in the solar system.

     

    ESS1-3.C:The History of Planet Earth.

    Continental rocks, which can be older than 4 billion years, are generally much older than the rocks of the ocean floor, which are less than 200million years old.  Although active geological processes, such as plate tectonics and erosion have destroyed or altered most of the very early rock record on Earth, other objects in the solar system, such as lunar rocks,asteroids, and meteorites, have changed little over billions of years. Studying these objects can provide information about Earth's formation and early history.


     


     

    Concepts - Students will know:

    • The tools used in Astronomy.
    • The relationship between Sun-Earth-Moon Systems.
    • The basic structure of the Solar System.
    • Kepler's and Newtonian laws and their effect on motion in the solar system.
    • Basic star types and their life cycle.
    • What the Milky Way Galaxy is like as well as other galaxies.
    • The theories of the origin of the universe.

    Competencies -Students will be able to:

    • Describe the ways space is studied past, present, and future.
    • Identify the relative positions and motions of Earth, the Sun, and the Moon, including phases of the moon and lunar and solar eclipses.
    • Apply Kepler's and Newtonian laws to the motion of our heliocentric solar system.
    • Describe star distribution, distance and classification of stars.
    • Describe the life cycle of a star.
    • Determine the size and shape of the Milky Way.
    • Describe how astronomers classify galaxies.
    • Describe the different theories about the formation of the universe, including the Big Bang Theory.

     

    Assessments:

    Formative, Performance Tasks with rubric, Summative, grade calculation


     

    Elements of Instruction:

     

    Analyzing and Interpreting Data

    Analyzing Data in 9-12 builds on K-8experiences and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data.  Analyze data using computational models in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims.
     

    Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

    Mathematical and computational thinking in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data.  Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions.  Create a computational model or simulation of a phenomenon, designed device, progress, or system.  Use a computational representation of phenomena or design solutions to describe and/or support claims and/or explanations.
     

    Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

    Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific knowledge, principles, and theories.  Construct an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students' own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.  Design or refine a solution to a complex real-world problem, based on scientific knowledge, student-generated sources evidence, prioritized criteria, and tradeoff considerations.
     

    Engaging in Argument from Evidence

    Engaging in argument from Evidence in 9-12 build on K-8 experiences and progresses to using appropriate and sufficient evidence and scientific reasoning to defend and critique claims and explanations about natural and designed world(s).  Arguments may also come from current scientific or historical episodes in science.  Evaluate competing design solutions to a real-world problem based on scientific ideas and principles, empirical evidence, and logical arguments regarding relevant factors 9e.g. economic, societal, environmental, ethical considerations).

     

    Connections to Nature of Science

    Scientific investigations Use a Variety of Methods

    Science investigations use diverse methods and do not always use the same set of procedures to obtain data. New technologies advance scientific knowledge.
     

    Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence

    Scientific knowledge is based on empirical evidence.  Science arguments are strengthened by multiple lines of evidence supporting a single explanation.
     

    Developing and Using Models-Modeling in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed world(s).

     

    Using Mathematical and Computational Thinking- Mathematical and computational thinking in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions.

     

    Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions-Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9-12 and builds on K-8experiences and progresses to explanations and designs are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.

     

    Engaging in Argument from Evidence-Engaging in argument from evidence in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to using appropriate and sufficient evidence and scientific reasoning to defend and critique claims and explanations about the natural and designed world(s). Arguments may also come from current scientific and historical episodes in science.

     

    Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information-Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to evaluating the validity and reliability of the claims, methods, and designs.

     

    Planning and Carrying Out Investigations-Planning and carrying out investigations in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to include investigations that provide evidence for and test conceptual, mathematical, physical, and empirical models.

     

    Analyzing and Interpreting Data-Analyzing data in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency and the use of models to generate and analyze data.

     


     

    Differentiation:

     

    Each lesson has differentiation options for each portion of the lesson. Additional differentiation options are listed with directions and student masters in the Teacher’s Guide.

    Remediation could include: using word walls, using flip charts or foldables, structured notebooks, peer teaching, teaming with the math department for graphing.

    Extensions could include: independent research, inquiry based experiments, exploration of topics online.

     


     

    Interdisciplinary Connections:

    The topics covered in Astronomy relate to the concepts of motion, nuclear processes,  and energy in Physics. 

    Writing in the Sciences is connected to Literacy Common Core Shifts.  Students could use note-booking or journaling, reading informational text and answering text-dependent questions, writing laboratory experiment plans and lab reports, academic and content specific vocabulary. 

    Problem Solving in the Sciences is connected with Mathematics Common Core Shifts in the following topics:  reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, modeling, scale,  formulas, measurement, graphing data, and calculations.

     


     

    Additional Resources / Games:

     Pennsylvania Department of Education - www.education.state.pa.us

     Standards Aligned System - http://www.pdesas.org/

    www.nasa.gov

    www.nsta.org

    www.science.glencoe.com

    http://sidc.oma.be/

    http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2004/09/   

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/earth-from-space.html 

    http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/models/WolfSheepPredation            

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