Answering All Our Questions!
After working so hard during remote learning, we agreed we could answer many of the questions we set out to figure out when our Sky unit launched!
We broke up our digital DQB (Jamboard) into sections by last name, and tackled it together! We didn't get to answer every question, but we surely answered a lot! All the questions that got answered have a pink sticky note next to them!
I am so proud of you 5th graders!
The Day and Nighttime Skies
Knowing the Earth rotates on its own axis at the same time it orbits the Sun, we began having some questions that centered around these two videos that launched the unit!
This prompted all these questions in our Google Meets (after our DQB was already set up with lots of other questions). We were curious about the night sky, the other stars that exist, and why we see only some of them at some times of the year. With some digging, Mrs. Brinza came down with some videos to help us figure out the answers to our questions!
Living in a big city, some of our questions focused on light pollution. How is it that artificial light affects what we see of the night sky?
And how is it that the Sun is like the artificial lights that cause light pollution?
So many interesting things we've figured out (and are continuing to be curious about)!
Shadows---Just what do they tell us?
With so many questions on our DQB about how the Sun impacts shadows, we agreed that we needed to set up some investigations in our own homes. And boy, did students come through! Mrs. Brinza even got in on the action challenging students to think about how their models could help figure out a "mystery."
We needed to remember that it's the Earth that rotates, not the Sun. So while our investigations would have been much easier changing the location of the light source, we needed to rotate the Earth and fixate the Sun.
From our investigations we're seeing that shadows are longest right as the location we're at turns to facing the Sun, and again as it's turning away into nighttime. They're the shortest right smack in the middle of the day!
Looks like so much of our investigating can help us answer the questions we asked weeks ago!
Next steps...figure out our stars and day/night questions!
Figuring Out Movement!
Our first stop in figuring out the answers to our questions was focusing on movement...movement of so many things. We see the moon moving, the sun moving, and we came in with some background knowledge about the earth moving, too! So we watched some videos to establish some things, and then set out to build our own models at home!
After agreeing that the sun doesn't move, and that the earth and moon do, students were challenged to figure out why we see the moon during the day then, using materials they had at home! Students used FlipGrid to submit their thinking alongside their models! here are some pictures of their work!
From here, we agreed on the following, and with student input, Mrs. Brinza put together a video!
Next steps...more figuring out about how the movement of the earth affects shadows. Yup, you heard that right! If the earth is what moves, then we have to leave the sun still!
Launching the Unit!
During the stay-at-home order due to COVID-19, my own two kids noticed something back in April that got me thinking. It got me thinking so much that I looked for what they saw again and again, and well, I can only say that it got me thinking!
We also then began noticing things with our basketball hoop that we play with in our alley at all times of the day! Could what we see with the shadows be connected to what's going on with the sky?
And a late night read on social media, Mrs. Brinza got an interesting email from the Adler Planetarium, with some great timelapse videos of the sky, too!
All these sightings, pictures, and videos made us wonder a lot of questions, so using Google Forms, students submitted questions they were wondering! We built out our Driving Question focused on three areas!
Since we had so many questions, we also thought about related phenomena, investigations we could do to answer our questions, alongside materials we might need at our homes (since we didn't have access to things at school due to the school-closure).
Our next steps? To answer our questions as they relate to the Moon and the Sun!
During the stay-at-home order, I spent a lot of extended time outside with my two young kids--ages 3 and 5 at the time. They noticed something in the sky that I often overlook, and it served at the perfect gateway into our unit on patterns in the sky!