The moon unit I would teach would incorporate elements of Science, Literacy, Math and Social Studies. For the science aspect of the unit students will do a hands on activity that will develop their understanding of the relationship between the Earth, Sun and Moon. Students will also collect moon data for three days within a week time frame. After collecting data the unit will incorporate literacy by having students describe their observations using a window note method (facts, feelings, questions, ideas). For math students will chart their data collections with a partner. Lastly students will learn about the history of the moon landing through a children’s book.
The grade level for this Unit plan will be for fourth grade students. These lessons require more independent and observational skills.
Difficulties in teaching about the moon to elementary students would be the misconceptions that they have about the moon. Various misconceptions they may have about the moon include that the phases are caused by shadows, the moon goes around the earth in one day, the moon doesn’t rotate, the moon has no gravity, and that the moon makes it’s own light (http://moon.nasa.gov/moonmisconceptions.cfm).
I would overcome the difficulties of teaching this lesson by guiding students misconceptions to the correct answer rather than shutting them down immediately. We could do this through discussions and developing our hands on models. It’s important for students to develop ideas and then guide their thinking in ways that lead to the facts. It will be very beneficial for me as the teacher to use productive questions when talking about the moon as a class.
Activities for the Unit
As stated earlier the various activities I would include for the moon unit are in each subject area: math, literacy, science and social studies.
Have students create a 2-D model of the relationship between the sun, earth and moon (create and model one for the class as well).
Literacy: Students will use window notes to describe their observations
(From the Strategic Teacher)
Math: Collect Data from the 3 observations and include 3 of a partner.
(similar to this worksheet but would include, date, time, temperature as well)http://students.oneonta.edu/arucsa89/webquest/Moon%20Phase%20Observation%20Sheet.pdf
Social Studies: Read book about moon landing/ Neil Armstrong.
“Who Was Neil Armstrong” By Roberta Edwards
The formative assessment I would use for this unit would include students using picture cards of various moon phases and be able to put the phases in the correct order. After completing individually and having the teacher observe individual attempts, have students get with a partner and see if they did the same thing. Then discuss again as a class the order of the phases!