There are many reasons why December is one of my favorite months, but one BIG reason is because we are studying OUTER SPACE! There's something about teaching outer space that makes my heart skip a beat. We're just diving into our universe, but we have started by identifying our location (in the Milky Way) and how that compared to other groups of stars (also known as...constellations) In 5th grade, we do not assess constellations or put much focus on them, but it connects to how our Earth rotates on its axis. It was enlightening for many students to understand how we see different constellations at different times of the year... depending on where we are on the globe.
To compare constellations and galaxies, we created a Double Bubble Thinking Map. Side note, in this unit I'm REALLY trying to incorporate the use of more and more thinking maps. They're incredible ways to organize information and another great way to take notes. For example, we created a brace map at the beginning of our unit to write down vocabulary words and associate them in groups. Now, back on track! Below, you see a student working with his group to pull information from a resource page and the text book and create a double bubble. After the small groups worked for 5-7 minutes, we shared out our new information and created a class double bubble.
After we had ironed out the differences between galaxies and constellations... we started creating! Students were given months, chalk, a guide, and stars. Badda bing... badda boom!
Today, I was trying to decide what to DO with the constellations and I thought, "Duh.. we need to look up." I hopped on a table and started tacking them to the ceiling. At the end of the day, we all stared into the "sky" and found constellations!
Tomorrow, we're continuing our conversation about the SUN ... our closest star!