Sunday, November 1, 2015

Our Universe

The idea of RED SHIFT was hard for my students to visualize.  I found a short, easy demo to demostrate it, and wrote it up into a quick lab.  You can find the Modeling Red Shift lab on my webpage.

I used elastic instead of a rubber band, and I glued a sparkly star to the middle of the elastic for fun.

The timer on the board in the background is from Online Stopwatch.  I often use it to help the students manage their time.

From out to in

Three years ago I began teaching in an independent school.  This was a BIG change for me.  Most of the change was due to the complete autonomy I have in my classroom. Every instructional and curricular decison is mine to make.  The only parameter I have is that I teach Earth and Space Science.

Earth science as a distinct course for middle school hasn't exist in my state since 1995, when the implementation of state standards called for integrated science.  It had been a loooong time since I taught Earth Science as a course.

My first year, I followed the scope and sequence that the previous teacher used.  It was a fairly traditional sequence - geology, followed by weather and water, and astronomy at the end of the year.  

The second year, I tweaked this some, but didn't make any really significant changes.

After a lot of reflection, and some discussion with another independent school science teacher, this year I turned everything upside down!

Since I emphasize the idea of systems, I began with the largest system of all - our universe,  From there we moved on to parts of the system - galaxies, then stars, then our star - the sun.  Then we looked at the sun - earth  - moon system, in particular the impacts we see on our planer.  Seasons, moon phases & eclipses, and tides were on the list.

I intend to go from the largest of systems to the smaller Earth systems, spiraling and reviewing every step of the way.  Always emphasizing the relationships and interaction in the systems.

You can see my complete scope and sequence by clicking HERE.