The learning center Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe is intended to be used throughout our whole unit. This center has five different activities that students will have the opportunity to take part in throughout our 12-day unit. The objects that will attract the students’ interest are the posters and different objects in front of the board, and the huge sun and decorations on the actual poster board. The sun was chosen because it is one of the biggest stars in the universe, and there are smaller stars surrounding the sun for more decoration. There are also different pictures of things you would typically see if you were to live in space, such as constellations, galaxies, and satellites. The students will imagine they are a part of the larger universe where all the stars and galaxies are through this learning center. Students will be actively engaged in learning about the wonderful universe God has blessed us with, and the learning center activities will help accomplish this goal.
A tri-fold board will provide the focus for the learning center. There are three different sections that include five different activities for students to complete on their own time. On the left-hand column is our constellation activity. This activity consists of students looking through telescopes that are provided for them and determining which constellation is being shown to them. The telescopes were made out of toilet paper rolls and construction paper. There is one hole at the end that students will look through, and the other end has multiple holes to show the constellation. The students will hold the telescopes up towards the light and determine which constellation they are looking at. There will be a constellation key on the table in front of the learning center with the different constellations they will be looking at. Students will then look at the constellation guide on our learning center display to help classify, but they are encouraged to look in the books provided as well.
The center of the tri-fold board consists of three different activities. The first one is having the students build a satellite. There will be a model satellite on display so students can have an idea of what they will be making. They will make a satellite from scrap materials that are provided on the table in front of the learning center display. Students can either make one based on their own creativeness or they have the option of looking through books or online sources to get different ideas. There will be satellite books in front of our learning display to give students some ideas. When they are done making their satellite, the students will write a short reflection on what they know about satellites and what they think a telescope’s purposes are. Students are also encouraged to think about the different parts and the many roles those parts play. And if they have questions about technology in space, they should make a list that they can share with the class and the teacher at a later time.
The second activity in the center of the learning center is a journal reflection. The students will have many options to either read an article or look at a video and respond through journal writing. There are a couple of specific articles and brochures that are listed in front of the learning center they can look at and respond to. The students will also have access to a computer that will be set up at our center. It will be linked to a specific website where they are encouraged to watch videos. There will be a list of videos by the computer they are encouraged to watch on the computer. After they read an article or watch a video, students will need to write a short journal reflection on what they have learned, were surprised about, or what they agree and disagree with. Students can also choose to draw pictures in their journals. The articles and videos will hopefully spark their imagination and creativity. Students will connect with their prior knowledge and expand their knowledge through journal writing.
The third activity in the center section of the learning center display is a combination of trivia cards, word searches, and crosswords. There will be word searches and crosswords laying in front of the display that the students will be able to complete on their own time. They are a fun way to learn about different terminology that will be used throughout the unit. The crossword is also a good way to make sure students know certain clues and definitions to such terminology. The trivia cards are the main focus of this activity and can be done alone or with a partner. The cards are in a pocket on the board that will be taken out one by one. There is a question on the front of the card with the answer inside. The student(s) will read the question on the front of the card and try to answer based on their own knowledge about the subject. When students think they have the right answer, they will look inside and see if they were correct! This activity is appropriate either before or during our unit. It will get the students interested in the topics we will be exploring in class, and it can be a great review as well.
The right side of our learning center display contains our fifth and final activity. This activity is the biography project that will get students familiar with specific astronauts, scientists, and astronomers. There is also a list of different inventions on the display they can take a look at and research. The students will pick out one person from either the list or someone they have discovered on their own and they will research them. If students pick their own, they will need to approve that person or invention with the teacher. They can use the books provided in our learning center display, but they can also use the internet as a resource and other books not provided. After the students have done their research on their specific person, instead of writing a research paper on their life, they will make a brochure explaining key events, how they grew up, what they are famous for, and what they are doing now (if still alive). The brochure will give the students a chance to be creative as well as show what they really know about the person they chose. They also have more options to write about what they specifically want to write about, and what they deem to be the most important topics about their person.
There are many trade books on the table in front of our learning center display. Some of these trade books will be used in specific lessons as well as other activities. They are all about the universe and all it entails. There are books specifically about stars, galaxies, and comets. There are books about technology and the different things used in space so students are able to see all that is happening here on Earth. These books are very interesting and the students are encouraged to read them in their free time to learn more about space and the universe. The books will also also be used in the five different activities that the students will be performing throughout the unit.
THEMATIC STATEMENT UNIT GOALS HOME LESSON PLANS EVALUATION RESOURCES