Maynard F Jordan Planetarium Banner
        Galaxy Maine menu buttonSpace Academy menu buttonMissions  menu buttonStarbase Orono  menu buttonObservatory  menu buttonSky News  menu button
Galaxy Margin Image

 

Worlds of Wonder Classroom Guide
Upon making a reservation to attend Worlds of Wonder at the Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium, you will receive a hard copy of the Cosmic Classroom Guide. In addition to the activities and vocabulary that you see here, the hard copy has sections that cover suggestions for getting ready to do the activity, resources and materials that you will need, steps to follow from beginning to end, questions for class discussion and some continuations and extensions that you may want to add to the activity. Below is a listing of the activities that you will find in the Worlds of Wonder Cosmic Classroom Guide accompanied by a description of the State of Maine Learning Results Guiding Principles and the State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators that will be addressed when you do that activity in your own classroom. In addition to these activities please make use of our resources and bibliography.

Activities

A Planetary Day, a Planetary Year

How Much Would a Can of Soda Weigh?

The Scaled Solar System

Interplanetary Tourism

Rotation of the Earth

Stars Give Off Light

A Planetary Day, A Planetary Year

Objectives and State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators: Learners will be able to describe the cycle of day/night and attribute it to the turning of Earth. (Pre. K-2. Science and Technology. G. #1.) (3-4. Science and Technology. G. #1.) (5-8. Science and Technology. G. #5.) Learners will be able to define rotation and explain how it causes a planetary day (Pre.K-2. Science and Technology. G. #1) (3-4. Science and Technology. G. #3.) Learners will be able to define revolution and identify a planetary year as one revolution. (3-4. Science and Technology. G. #3.)

The General Idea: How do we measure a day? A year? Students often take for granted that a day has 24 hours in it and that there are 365 days in a year. But how do we determine what a day really is? Or how many days there are in a year? This activity will help students to understand that a planetary day is the amount of time that it takes for a planets to rotate once around its axis and a year is the amount of time it takes for a planet to revolve once around the Sun.

How Much Would a Can of Soda Weigh?

Objectives and State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators: Learners will be able to demonstrate that gravity is what causes objects to have weight (3-4. Science and Technology. I. #1.) (Secondary. Science and Technology. I. #2.) Learners will be able to explain that the nine planets do not exert the same amount of gravitational force (Secondary. Science and Technology. I. #2.)

The General Idea: Weight is the name we give to the force acting in a direction toward the center of a planet. The pull of gravity is the natural force of attraction exerted by a planet upon objects at or near its surface. The force depends both on the mass of the planet and its diameter. (For example: a planet having twice the mass, but with the same diameter, of Mars would result in a surface gravity twice that of Mars). This activity will help students understand this concepts by comparing the various relative weights of a can of soda if placed on the surface of each of the nine planets and our Moon.

The Scaled Solar System

Objectives and State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators: Learners will be able to explain the scale of the solar system in terms of size and distance (3-4. Science and Technology. G. #1., L. #4.) (5-8. Science and Technology. L. #4.) (Secondary. Science and Technology. L. #3., L. #5.) Learners will be able to identify generalizations that people may have about the solar system and exceptions to those generalization (5-8. Science and Technology. K. #1., K. #2.)Learners will be able to reflect on and what they are learning in this activity (3-4. Science and Technology. L. #3.)
The General Idea: Most of us have seen models of the solar system at some point. And most of those models placed planets the size of baseballs just a few inches apart. With models like these it’s no wonder that students often understand the differences in size between the planets without actually understanding the scale of the solar system. This activity deals with relative sizes and distances in the Solar System.

Interplanetary Tourism

Objectives and State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators: Learners will be able to describe the characteristics of the planets (3-4. Science and Technology. G. #1.)Learners will be able to present information effectively and persuasively (3-4. Science and Technology. L. #5.) Learners will be able to use various types of evidence to support the claims that they make about their planet (3-4. Science and Technology. K. #4., K. #5.) (5-8. Science and Technology. K. #4., K. #8.) Learners will be able to work effectively in groups, including activities such as brainstorming (3-4. Science and Technology. K. #6, L. #7.) (5-8. Science and Technology. L. #6.)
The General Idea: This is an effective and enjoyable project for teaching the properties of the planet. By researching the characteristics of the planets and promoting tourism on each, teams of students will discover interesting and practical information about the planets. Encourage your students to be as creative as possible and to use their imaginations. In addition to learning about the planets, students will investigate ways that information can be slanted and after the activity they will look at real travel brochures and discuss where the information in them might be slanted as well.

Rotation of the Earth

Objectives and State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators: Learners will be able to infer that the rotation of the Earth causes apparent movement of the constellations in the night sky (3-4. Science and Technology. G. #3.). \Learners will be able to recognize that the patterns of the stars from various directions (Pre.K-2. Science and Technology. K. #6., Mathematics. G. #1.)
The General Idea: If you look at the night sky on a regular basis you will see that it doesn’t always appear the same. Actually it very seldom appears the same. From season to season the constellations twist around the north star. Many students may wonder if the constellations are really spinning around us as they appear to be doing. In this activity students will view constellations from various directions so that they will begin to understand how the stars appear to move through the sky, when in fact it is Earth that is moving through the sky.

Stars Give Off Light

Objectives and State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators: The learners will be able to explain that stars give off light (3-4. Science and Technology. G. #2). The learners will be able to demonstrate an understanding that moons and planets get their light from starsThe learners will be able to show that the Sun is a star(Pre.K-2. Science and Technology. G. #3). The learners will be able to describe the effects of Sun light on how we see other stars during the day.
The General Idea: To the untrained eye, the night sky is ablaze with the light of thousands of tiny dots. From here on Earth it is sometimes hard to tell the stars from the planets. This activity will help students understand that while both the stars and planets appear to shimmer in the night sky, they are very different objects indeed.

Worlds of Wonder State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators

This star show will help you meet the following State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators in your classroom. For the complete State of Maine Learning Results Publication on-line, please visit http://www.state.me.us/education/lres/lres.htm

Grades 3-4
Science and Technology

G. Universe
#1. Illustrate the relative positions of the Sun, moon, and planets.
#2. Trace the sources of Earth's heat and light energy to the Sun.
#3. Describe the Earth's rotation on its axis and its revolution around the Sun.

I. Motion
#1. Describe the effects of different types of forces on motion.

K. Scientific Reasoning
#4. Use various types of evidence to support a claim.
#5. Demonstrate an understanding that ideas are more believable when supported by good reasons.

L. Communication

#4. Make and/or use sketches, tables, graphs, physical representations, and manipulatives to explain procedures and ideas.
#7. Function effectively in groups within various assigned roles.

English Language Arts

B. Literature and Culture

#3. Respond to speakers in a variety of ways (e.g., listening attentively, responding politely).

Grades 5-8
Science and Technology

G. Universe

# 5. Describe the motions of moons, planets, stars, solar systems, and galaxies.

K. Scientific Reasoning

#4. Analyze means of slanting information.
#8. Construct logical arguments.

L. Communication

#4. Make and use scale drawings, maps, and three-dimensional models to represent real objects, find locations, and describe relationships.
#6. Identify and perform roles necessary to accomplish tasks.

Grades 9-12
Science and Technology

G. Universe

#1. Describe how scientists gather data about the universe.

I. Motion

#2. Explain some current theories of gravitational force.

K. Scientific Reasoning

#3. Develop generalizations based on observations.

L. Communication

#3. Make and use appropriate symbols, pictures, diagrams, scale drawings, and models to represent and simplify real life situations and to solve problems.

Worlds of Wonder State of Maine Learning Results Guiding Principles

The lessons in the Cosmic Classroom Guide, in combination with Worlds of Wonder, will help students to work towards some of the Guiding Principles set forth by the State of Maine Learning Results. By the simple act of visiting the planetarium, students of all ages open an avenue for self-directed lifelong learning. A field trip encourages students to think about learning from all environments including those beyond the schoolyard. A Jordan Planetarium visit also introduces visitors to the campus of the largest post-secondary school in Maine and encourages them to think of this as a place which holds opportunities for their future education, enjoyment and success.

Other sites on the University campus, including three museums, explore a variety of subjects, and the Visitors Center is always willing to arrange tours of the campus. A field trip can contribute to many different disciplines of the school curriculum and demonstrate that science is not separate from art, from mathematics, from history, etc. The world is not segregated into neat little boxes with labels such as social studies and science. A field trip is an opportunity for learning in an interdisciplinary setting, to bring it all together and to start the process of thinking. For a more complete discussion of field trips, please visit the Jordan Planetarium web site.

If used in its entirety and accompanied by the Planetarium visit this guide will help students to:

Become a clear and effective communicator through
A. oral expression such as class discussions, and written presentations
B. listening to classmates while doing group work, cooperation, and keeping records.

Become a self-directed and life long learner by
A. introducing students to career and educational opportunities at the University of Maine and the Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium.
B. encouraging students to go further into the study of the subject at hand, and explore the question of “what if?”
C. giving students a chance to use a variety of resources for gathering information

Become a creative and practical problem solver by
A. asking students to observe phenomena and problems, and present solutions
B. urging students to ask extending questions and find answers to those questions
C. developing and applying problem solving techniques
D. encouraging alternative outcomes and solutions to presented problems

Become a collaborative and quality worker through
A. an understanding of the teamwork necessary to complete tasks
B. applying that understanding and working effectively in their assigned groups
C. demonstrating a concern for the quality and accuracy needed to complete an activity

Become an integrative and informed thinker by
A. applying concepts learned in one subject area to solve problems and answer questions in another
B. participating in class discussion.

U maine Logo

Contact | Star Shows | Public Shows | Field Trips | UMaine | Observatory

Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium, 5781 Wingate Hall, Orono, ME 04469-5781
Phone: (207) 581-1341