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The following Astronomy/ Space resource is a guide for use by teachers teaching the Understanding Earth and Space Systems strand in the grade six Ontario Ministry of Education Science and Technology curriculum.

This document is organized into five sections: Here on Earth, The Solar System, Space Exploration and Travel, Life in Space and Costs and Benefits of Exploring Space. All of the specific expectations from the Space Unit have been addressed in this document. Teachers are encouraged to cover the fundamental concepts (big ideas) by selecting activities from each of the five sections, not all activities presented need to be covered. In addition, teachers can integrate the literacy components into language studies.

In the Here on Earth section, students research the interactions of the Sun, Earth and Moon. The Solar System section covers the Earth’s place in the solar system and other objects within the solar system. Space Exploration and Travel allows the students to learn how astronomers have come to learn about our solar system and how we are travelling within our solar system. In the section Life in Space, students explore what happens to us in space and how we live and work in space. Finally, in the section Costs and Benefits of Exploring Space, students learn how the space program has impacted us in everyday life. Teachers are not expected to be experts as each of the activities provides background information and additional resources to support teacher learning. See below for links to each section of the resource.

Assessment

These sections have been developed using the design down planning model, where initially the summative assessment is identified and then the enabling lessons were developed to prepare the students for that particular assessment. It has been the intent of the authors to align with the Ministry initiatives of literacy and assessment.

A diagnostic assessment is provided to begin each section. This type of assessment will provide the teacher with an understanding of the prior knowledge and skills a student brings to a unit, as well as the strengths and specific learning needs of an individual or groups of students in relation to the expectations that will be taught. Various opportunities for formal assessment are also included throughout each section. A variety of tools, such as checklists, and rubrics are provided to assist teachers with their formative assessment.

Literacy

Explicit mini-lessons in each of the strands of language instruction have been included. Students will have the opportunity to use reading strategies. The Here on Earth Section focuses on improving students science communication skills. The Solar system section focuses on building an effective information paragraph, as well as constructing, and organizing an effective oral presentation. The space exploration and travel and cost/benefit sections provide students with the opportunity to apply report writing and persuasive writing skills.

Technology

When appropriate, students use scientific inquiry/research skills to investigate scientific and technological advances that allow humans to adapt to life in space. In each section, we have incorporated a variety of ideas to address multiple intelligences. Many of the activities will allow the students to be up and moving and working with their hands. The variety of PowerPoint, Smartboard, and video files will allow teachers to help meet the needs of visual learners and bring the wonder of space alive for their students.

Unit Format

The choice to use web pages to present this document is for ease of storage and to give teachers the ability to download lessons and files to customize them to their own teaching style. Teachers can use their professional judgment to select portions of this document that best meet the needs of their class. The document is written as a coherent unit plan that can be used in its entirety or portions can be used to supplement or support your current unit plans.

Keep in mind that, although the topics or disciplines of “astronomy” and “space” have some overlap, there are fundamental differences between them in terms of motivations and methodologies. Astronomers use telescopes, instruments, and the laws of physics to understand the nature and origin of celestial objects, whereas most “space” activities use rockets, satellites, and spacecraft for economic, political, and military applications, as well as for science and engineering.”

Unit Summary:

In the Here on Earth section, students research the interactions of the Sun, Earth and Moon. Click here to access Here on Earth.

The Solar System section covers the Earth’s place in the solar system and other objects within the solar system. Click here to access The Solar System.

Space Exploration and Travel allows the students to learn how astronomers have come to learn about our solar system and how we are travelling within our solar system. Click here to access Space Exploration and Travel.

In the section Life in Space, students explore what happens to us in space and how we live and work in space. Click here to access Life in Space.

In the section Costs and Benefits of Exploring Space, students learn how the space program has impacted us in everyday life. Click here to access Costs and Benefits of Exploring Space.

Resource Developed By:

Brian Jubenville, and Laurissa Werhun

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