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Eclipse - Hide and Seek in the Sky

Eclipse - Hide and Seek

Unit Summary

In this project, students of 8th class take up a scientific investigation on the concept of eclipse. They conduct research on the concepts, types and causes of eclipses and read books to understand the amazing phenomena. The students conduct survey in their community to gather data regarding different superstitious beliefs and malpractices associated with eclipses prevalent in the community. They make models to describe the celestial phenomena and circulate newsletters to create awareness about the malpractices prevalent under the disguise of ‘protection from eclipses’.

Curriculum-Framing Questions

  • Essential Question
    Are we aware?
  • Unit Questions
    How does awareness about scientific facts help us?
    How can we create awareness about the malpractices prevalent under the disguise of ‘protection from eclipses’?
  • Content Questions
    How do eclipses occur?
    What are the different types of solar and lunar eclipses?
    What are various superstitions associated with eclipses in the community?

Assessment Timeline 
This timeline shows in chronological order the different types of formal and informal assessments that occur during the unit. The table below explains how each assessment is used and who uses it for what purpose.

Assessment Timeline

Before project
work begins
Students work on projects
and complete tasks
After project work
is completed

  • Questioning
  • Journal
  • Group contribution sheet
  • Research Log
  • Discussion
  • Questioning
  • Anecdotal Notes
  • Journal
  • Model Making Checklist
  • Survey sheet
  • Newsletter Assessment tool
  • Anecdotal Notes
  • Model Making Checklist
  • Newsletter Assessment tool
  • Reflection
  • Group contribution sheet

 

Assessment Process and Purpose for Assessment
Questioning The teacher uses questioning strategies to monitor student progress, probe for understanding, and engage students in higher-order thinking. The teacher questions students while inspecting group work. The teacher also returns to Curriculum-Framing Questions throughout the project to analyze student understanding.
Journal Students use journals to write down discussion notes and to answer reflective questions. The teacher reviews journals regularly to provide feedback, clarify misunderstandings, and provide additional lessons if necessary.
Group contribution checklist(doc) Students use the group contribution checklist to self-manage their group contributions.
Research Log(doc) Students use the log to write their research summary and the teacher reviews logs to ensure students are on track.
Research Checklist(doc) Students use the checklist to self-assess their progress during the research process.
Discussion The teacher uses the information from this discussion to guide students as they plan and execute. Frequently throughout the unit, students discuss relevant topics to activate background knowledge. Notes on students’ contributions to the discussion are used to plan instruction and to provide individual and group feedback.
Anecdotal Notes The teacher uses this form throughout the unit to capture notes about students as they work. The notes are used to monitor progress, provide feedback, and adjust instruction. In this informal assessment, notes from observations and interactions with individuals and groups and from the conferences provide documentation for final assessment.
Model Making Checklist(doc)
Students use the model making checklist to monitor the quality of their work during model making. Teachers use the Model Making Checklist to assess final models.
Survey Sheet(doc) The students use the sheet to conduct survey in their neighbourhood to gauge the different superstitious beliefs regarding solar/lunar eclipse. The teacher uses the sheet to review the students understanding of blind beliefs existing in our community.
Newsletter Assessment tool(doc) This rubric is used by students as they work on their newspapers to make sure their work is high quality and by teachers at the end of the project to assign grades to students’ work.
Reflection In this end-of-unit reflection, students assess their own learning during the unit. The teacher reviews the reflections to analyze student understanding and to gauge students’ metacognitive abilities.

Instructional Procedures

Research fundamentals

  1. Assess students’ background knowledge by asking them comprehension questions about the different celestial bodies – sun, planets, stars, galaxy, etc.
  2. Have students write in the journal about the different celestial bodies based on their understanding and discussions. Review journal entries to gauge student understanding and thinking.
  3. Randomly divide the students in small groups. Encourage students to work in groups as this will promote discussion and debate and foster a variety of opinions and ideas. Remind students that each member of the group should contribute to the upcoming project, and that each person’s responsibilities within the group should be well defined and noted for each task. Distribute group contribution checklist(doc)for students to self-manage their group contributions.
  4. Distribute research log(doc)and research checklist(doc)to students and provide research time to conduct internet research and read reference books for gathering information about the celestial bodies and the different phenomena regarding the celestial bodies.
  5. Give opportunity to the students to build their understanding about our galaxy & solar system through reading books, doing research on internet. Handover copies of the book ‘Vedh Aakashacha’ – written by famous astrophysicist and Scientist Dr. Jayant Naralikar and list of reference websites to students. Encourage students to visit the Marathi website on Astronomy www.avakashvedh.com*. Ask students to note down the research summary in the research log(doc). Review research logs to check on student’s progress.

 

Researching Eclipse

  1. Show a video on celestial bodies and phenomena with special reference to eclipses. Discuss with students various celestial bodies and phenomena visible/invisible to the naked eye. Hold a discussion by posing questions Why do eclipses occur?What are the different types of solar and lunar eclipses?
  2. Give time for students to discuss and question each other about the amazing hide and seek phenomena in the sky. Take notes while observing students throughout the discussion process to monitor progress and assess student understanding.

Making Model

  1. Tell the students that they are about to create a model of the Sun-Earth-Moon system, and demonstrate the phases of the Moon as well as solar and lunar eclipses.
  2. Ask students to gather the material required for making the model for demonstrating the Sun-Earth-Moon system. Provide time for students to conduct internet research and discuss different ways of creating models.  Ask students to use research log to note down their research summary. Provide students with model making checklist(doc)to guide them to monitor the quality of their work during model making.
  3. Provide time for student to make model in activity room. Review models and provide feedback. 

Understanding different perspectives

  1. Ask the essential question Are we aware? Elicit student responses and create a list on the chart to record students’ ideas. Ask questions to ensure students are thinking about new ideas, scientific facts, awareness, discoveries, innovations, different celestial phenomena, etc.
  2. Hold discussions about How does awareness about scientific facts help us? Elicit student responses and record it on the chart. Ask questions to ensure students are thinking about importance of developing scientific temperament for reasoning, developing awareness, analysing, experimenting, differentiating between beliefs and scientific facts etc.
  3. Orient students about the different myths associated with eclipse in different countries by narrating some superstitious beliefs. Encourage discussion on what is the difference between myths and facts?  Ask students to write in their journal.
  4. Instruct students to gather historical and mythical facts about eclipses by conducting internet research. Ask them to research on: What are various superstitions associated with eclipses in community? and How & why  are people misguided about eclipses by certain social sections? Remind students to update their research log(doc).
  5. While contemplating on these questions, get the students to focus on the existing disparity in the community in the form of scientific investigations in space vs. exploitation for selfish motives. Lead the discussion to various blind beliefs existing in our community pertaining to eclipses and how common people are exploited in the name of religion and tradition. Ask students to note their learning in journal.

Conducting Survey

  1. Make students conduct survey of neighbours, family members, considering their gender, occupation, qualification and age. Provide time for students to discuss the questions for conducting survey and finalize the list of questions they would like to include in the survey sheet(doc). Make students note down the draft of questions in journal. Review journal and research log periodically and give comments.
  2. Provide time for students to conduct survey. After the survey, let groups analyse the data with the help of math teacher. Guide students to prepare eclipse survey graphs. Make students reflect on the survey results and share their survey findings with other groups. Take notes while observing students throughout the analysis and presentation. Monitor progress and assess student understanding.

Conducting Awareness Campaign

  1. In the light of the findings, research, discussions, observations, make the students reflect on: How can we create awareness about the malpractices prevalent under the disguise of ‘protection from eclipses’?
  2. Ask the groups to note down the responses in the journal. Introduce the assignment of making a newsletter and to spread the right message and create awareness in the community. Get the students to think of various ways they would adopt the design of newsletter.
  3. Share the Student Community Newsletter Assessment Tool(doc) for better understanding of expectations. Ask the students to focus on: Are we Aware? And How can we create awareness about the malpractices prevalent under the disguise of ‘protection from eclipses?  Provide time for internet research, discussion and completion of the newsletter.

Culminating Activity

  1. Organize an exhibition of student work for showcasing the eclipse model and the newsletters. Invite parents, staff and students from neighbouring schools for the same. Review group contribution sheet and journals of each student. Assess newsletter and models using newsletter assessment tool(doc) and model making checklist(doc).
  2.  Hold a concluding discussion session by encouraging the students to reflect on their learning.

 

Credits

Mrs. Shilpa Bhagwat, teacher of Seth Hiralal Prashala High School, Pune participated in the Intel® Teach Program. A team of teachers expanded the plan into an example that you can see here.

Eclipse - Hide and Seek in the Sky

At a Glance

Grade Level: 6
Subjects: Geography, Science
Topic: Eclipses-Beliefs and Facts
Key Learnings:  Concept of Eclipses; Causes of Eclipses and Types of Eclipses
Time Needed: 7 weeks (3 periods of 40 minutes each per week)

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