Celestial Bodies (Stars & Constellations)
Reflection VS Sources of Light
The students will review some facts about light learned in Grade 2, specifically that some objects emit light; some objects reflect light, and some objects absorb light and that light is a radian wave emitted from a source in straight lines and spreads over a larger and larger area as it travels. Students will be able to demonstrate why, although the stars are always shining, they are ordinarily visible only at night. Students will be able to explain why some objects like the Sun, and sometimes the Moon, are visible during the day.
Comets, Meteors, and Meteorites
Specifically, students will explain that a comet is a large ball of frozen gases, dust, and ice that glows brightly as it approaches the Sun, that it travels in a long, cigar-shape orbit around the sun, and that the comet’s tail always points away from the Sun because strong solar wind coming from the Sun blows the glowing gases backward off the comet. Students will be able to define meteors as bits of rock or dust, often from the tail of a comet, that burn up as they fall through the earth’s atmosphere. Students will be able to define a meteorite as a chunk of rock that does not completely burn up as it travels through the earth’s atmosphere and that when a meteorite hits land it causes a resulting crater.
The Life Cycles of Stars
The students will be able to characterize stars by size and color: red giant, white dwarf, black dwarf, and black hole, and will be able to identify how these characteristics relate to stages in the “life” cycle of a star. Students will be able to explain that stars do not stay the same forever, stars are “born”, go through generally predictable stages, and finally “die”, and that these stages represent the “life” cycle of a star. Students will be introduced to a possible, although uncommon, end to a star’s “life” cycle as a nova or supernova.
3. Star: Sun;
4. Red Giant: Chandra Red Giant;
7. Nova: Nova;
The students will be able to identify stars, including our Sun, as providers of heat and light. Students will be able to demonstrate that when the Sun’s rays strike a surface, some are absorbed while others are reflected, that the absorbed rays make things hotter, and the reflected rays make things brighter. Students will be able to identify sunlight a slight by showing that it is made up of the same spectrum of colors as light produced by a flashlight.
The students will be able to define constellations as groups of stars that are named for what they look like. Students will be able to demonstrate that the reason stars appear to move across the night sky is not because they themselves are moving (although they are), but because Earth is rotating and revolving. Students will be introduced to the ways in which stars can be used to find directions and tell time.
General Space Sources