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Our Sky Family Classroom Guide

Upon making a reservation to attend Our Sky Family 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 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. The activities list to the right you will also find in the Our Sky Family Cosmic Classroom Guide accompanied by a description of the State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators and the State of Maine Learning Results Guiding Principles 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

Finding Directions

The Sun is a Star

Mom's Pizza Planet Order

Stars Give Off Light

Recycling Trash

Finding Directions

Objectives and State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators: Learners will be able to identify the directions north, south, east, and west (Pre.K-2. Social Studies. Geography. A. #1.)
Learners will be able to explain why it is important to know directions (Pre.K-2. Social Studies. Geography. A. #1.)
The General Idea: Knowing the four directions is the starting point for observing the nighttime sky. Since the very first step in finding any star or constellation is always to face a certain direction, the following exercise is designed to help the student find and remember the directions. An obstacle course makes a good tool for teaching what directions are and why they are needed

Recycling Trash

Objectives and State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators: Learners will be able to explain how recycling paper helps the environment (Pre.K-2. Science and Technology. M. #4., Career Preparation. D. #3.)
Learners will be able to make paper from paper we have already written on (Pre.K-2. Science and Technology. M. #4.) (PreK.-2. Visual and Performing Arts. A. #2.)
Learners will be able to use the recycled paper for an assignment. (PreK.-2. Visual and Performing Arts. A. #10.)
The General Idea: Nearly every place you go these days there's some sign of recycling. It's part of our everyday lives, but many young students may wonder why we recycle or even if there are things that they can do to help recycle. This activity is a great way to show students that we can reuse paper even after it's already been written on.

Mom's Pizza Planet Order

Objectives and State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators: Learners will be able to memorize the names of the planets in order from the Sun (3-4. Science and Technology. G. #1.) Learners will be able to compare and contrast the identifying characteristics of the planets (3-4. Science and Technology. G. #1.)
The General Idea: Since it is often hard for students to remember the order of the nine planets, this activity is designed to be a fun and memorable experience so that it will stick with students and they will be able to recall not only the names of the planets but their order as well.

The Sun Is a Star

Objectives and State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators: Learners will be able to identify objects that are in the daytime and nighttime sky (Pre.K-2. Science and Technology. G. #1)
Learners will be able to identify the Sun as the only star visible during the day (Pre.K-2. Science and Technology. G. #3.)
Learners will be able to demonstrate that the light we see during the day comes from the Sun (Pre. K-2. Science and Technology. H. #1.)
The General Idea: When discussing astronomy we often mention the Sun, moons, stars and planets, but for many young students this may inadvertently cause them to believe that the Sun is not a star. The following activity is designed to help students remember that the Sun is a star we can see during the day.

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 stars.
The 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.

State of Maine Learning Results Guiding Principles

The lessons in the Cosmic Classroom Guide, in combination with Our Sky Family, 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 school yard. 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

State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators

In conjunction with the Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium show Our Sky Family this guide will help you meet the following State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators in you classroom. For the complete State of Maine Learning Results Publication on-line, please visit http://www.state.me.us/education/lres/lres.htm

Grades Pre. K-2
Science and Technology

E. Structure of Matter
#1. Show that large things are made up of smaller pieces.

#2. Describe some physical properties of an object.

G. Universe
#1. Explain the cycles of day/night and of seasons.

#3. Demonstrate an understanding that the Sun is a star and is the closest star to Earth.

H. Energy
#1. Demonstrate an understanding that the Sun gives off light and heat energy.

M. Implications of Science and Technology
#4. Demonstrate some practices for recycling and care of resources.

Career Preparation

D. Balancing Responsibilities
#3. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of the conservation of resources.

Social Studies - Geography

A. Skills and Tools
#1. Use and construct maps and other visuals to describe location, direction, size, and shape.

Visual and Performing Arts

A. Creating Expression
#2. Experiment with art forms.

#10. Demonstrate ways in which the arts can be used in interdisciplinary activities.

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.

M. Implications of Science and Technology
#2. "Investigate and describe the role of scientists and inventors.

#4. Explain practices for conservation in daily life, based on a recognition that renewable and non-renewable resources have limits.

English Language Arts

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

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