From the S&C Archives: Astronomy
Teaching Through Trade Books: Seeing Stars
The winter months are a great time to make observations of several familiar constellations. While there’s no scientific reason to “know” the constellations—they are simply imaginative pictures imposed on stars—studying constellations can help students connect with culture in a fun way and develop the awareness that stars are different in apparent brightness and color. And, exploring the night sky over a period of weeks can also help students notice the motion of the Sun, Moon, and planets.
Teaching for Conceptual Understanding
A series of lessons were taught in a second-grade classroom to assist students’ conceptual understanding of celestial motion. After assessing student misconceptions about space and the movement of planets and the Sun, the teacher engaged the students in role-playing, group work, and computer simulations. These teaching strategies were effective for enhancing students’ conceptual understanding.
The Moon in Children's Literature
The Moon's cycle of phases is one of the most familiar natural phenomena, yet also one of the most misunderstood. Research has found that a significant segment of the population, including students and teachers, mistakenly believes that the Moon's phases are caused by the shadow of the Earth. This articles discusses how to avoid the pitfalls of introducing misconceptions when reading about the Moon.