Web-Based Astronomy Curriculum Development Project

Report
Web-Based Astronomy Curriculum in
the Elementary Classroom
Travis Whyte
University of Alberta/Educational Media Technologies
Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science, and Technology Education
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta1
www.ioncmaste.ca
IONCMASTE
(Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education)



http://www.ioncmaste.ca
Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education

A centre for the promotion
of teaching, research and
curriculum excellence in
school science,
mathematics, and
technology education
Provide leadership in
disseminating current
research
Working closely with
teachers locally and in
developing countries
None profit organization
supported by generous
donations from Imperial Oil
2
Web-Based Astronomy Curriculum
Development Project





Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
Approached by the CSA in
fall 2001
Develop astronomy
curriculum resources for
sixth grade Pan-Canadian
curriculum expectations
Web-based & Text based
Teacher/student friendly
Use highly visual technology
elements (images, flash,
QuickTime and JavaScript )
to teach astronomy
3
Astronomy Education Assessment

Problem
– Challenging subject for
many elementary school
teachers…



Subject complexity
Shortage of quality resources
Spiro graph Nebula
Outcome
– Students left with…



Misleading information
A feeling that astronomy as a
science is unimportant
A missed opportunity to learn of the
wonders of the Universe
Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
Reflection Nebula
4
Goals of the Project

Develop a curriculum resource
tool for teachers and students
including:
– appropriate astronomy
information to first teach the
teachers
– information relating key
concepts to curriculum
– extensive visuals to demonstrate
difficult concepts and to spark
further interest and intrigue
– wide range of appropriate lesson
plans and activities
– evaluation strategies
Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
Planet Mars
Cat’s Eye Nebula
5
Curriculum Resources Included
matrix displaying how the content, applets
and lesson plans relate to the Pan-Canadian Curriculum
expectation
All of the astronomy content covered is divided into 7
Modular Content
content modules
Astronomy Glossary An extensive astronomy glossary is accessible via
hotlink from all content modules
Interactive Applets Mini web-based computer programs act as interactive
learning tools to augment content
All content modules include lesson plans designed to
Lesson Plans
assist teachers in reinforcing the content material
Extension Activities Included to provide students with experiential or
hands-on learning opportunities relevant to astronomy
Evaluation Rubrics Accompanying all lessons plans are sample evaluation
rubric that may or may not be used to evaluate students
Pan-Canadian
Curriculum Matrix
Detailed
Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
6
Content Modules
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Introduction to the Day and Night Sky
The Sun and Stars
The Earth and the Moon
The Planets
Comets, Meteors and Asteroids
The Milky Way and Beyond
Astronomers and Their Tools
Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
7
What are Interactive Applets?



An applet is an interactive learning tool that
acts like a mini-program running within a
web browser (Flash, QuickTime,
JavaScript).
Users will interact with the applet through
different means, including movie controller
buttons and other labeled buttons and input
windows.
The applets used in this website have been
designed as teaching and learning tools to
be used by both teachers and students in an
attempt to augment the curriculum
Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
8
Some of the Applets Titles
Tracking Sun Spots
 Phases of the Moon
 Reasons for the Seasons
 Solar and Lunar Eclipses
 The Solar System
 Our Home in the Milky Way

Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
9
Applet: Tracking Sunspots

Click image to load

Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
Using actual solar images
students will track and
measure sunspot
displacements in an attempt
to determine solar rotation
rates and identifying
differential rotation.
Students also have the
option of determining the
size of the sunspot after
which a comparison to
Earth is made.
10
Applet: Phases of the Moon

Click image to load

Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
This applet
demonstrates the
interactions between the
Sun, Moon and Earth
which help to produce
the phases of the Moon.
The animation clearly
shows the orbital
position of the Moon
and the corresponding
phase as observed from
Earth.
11
Applet: Reasons for the Seasons

Click image to load

Northern Hemisphere
Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
This applet demonstrates
the interactions between the
Sun, Moon and Earth which
help to produce the seasonal
effects on Earth.
The animation clearly
shows the orbital position of
the Earth and the Earth’s
axial tilt which together
affect how the Sun’s rays
impact the Earth.
– Direct rays = summer
– Indirect rays = winter
12
Applet: Solar and Lunar Eclipses

Click image to load

Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
This applet demonstrates
the interactions between the
Sun, Moon and Earth which
help to produce solar and
lunar eclipses.
Beginning with an analysis
of the orientation of the
Sun, Moon and Earth, the
applet allows users to
further investigate the
alignments necessary to
produce the different kinds
of eclipses.
13
Applet: The Solar System

Click image to load

Show applet
Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
This applet is designed to
help students visualize the
structure of the solar system
while gaining an
appreciation for the orbital
speeds (ie. The length of a
year).
Students will learn that the
planets closest to the Sun
rotate significantly faster
than the outer planets.
14
Applet: Our Home in the Milky
Way

Click image to load


Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
This applet is designed to
give students an
appreciation for the vast
size of the Milky Way
Galaxy.
Beginning with a view of
the entire galaxy, the
perspective zooms in to a
view of the solar system,
then to the Earth and Moon
and ultimately to a view of
only the Earth.
An approximate field size is
shown
15
About the Lesson Plans




The lesson plans included in this website
have been designed to be used sequentially
or as part of a complete unit.
Teachers are encouraged to use as much or
as little of the content as they require for
their particular classroom needs.
Many of the lessons include cross-curricular
elements including (Art, Language Arts, and
Mathematics)
Evaluation rubrics are included with all
lessons
Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
16
Some of the Lesson Plan Titles
Building and using a sundial
 Illustrating the constellations
 Tracking and tracing sunspots
 Observing and sketching the lunar surface
 An explorative journey of the solar system
 Your weight on other planets
 Plan a mission to a recently discovered planet
 Timeline of astronomy events and discoveries

Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
17
Student Access Site
The website has been designed to be accessible
by both teachers and students.
 The student version of the website contains

– content material
– astronomy glossary
– interactive applets & questions

The interactive applets are followed by multiple
choice javascript questions derived directly
from the applet.
Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
18
Summing it up

The elements and format used for organizing the
content modules will serve both the teachers and
students well.
–
–
–
–
Teaching the teachers the content
Offer suggestions for presenting and teaching the materials
Provide a wide variety of lesson plans
Offer hands-on and technology-assisted learning
experiences
– Reinforce the content with appropriate evaluation rubrics
and strategies
Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
19
What are Teachers Saying?
I find the curriculum resources extremely
informative and user friendly.
 The information and applets are wonderful. I
will definitely use them when teaching my
Grade 6 Sky Science unit.
 The student section of the Web-Based
Astronomy Curriculum is helpful and will be
enjoyed by the students.
 This is an excellent reinforcement tool that
makes the students think about what they have
learned.

Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
20
The Next Step
Currently the content materials are limited to
the sixth grade curriculum.
 Follow up projects are currently being
developed for both the ninth and twelfth grade
curricula.
 French language translations are also in the
development stages for the sixth, ninth, and
twelfth grade .

Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
21
Where is the Website?

The website is temporarily being hosted by the
University of Alberta
– http://www.ioncmaste.ca/astronomy

The webiste will soon be moved onto the
Canadian Space Agency’s website
– http://www.space.gc.ca/
Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
22
Thanks

If you would like more information or require
assistance using the website, please contact me:
Travis Whyte
[email protected]
Imperial Oil National Center for Mathematics,
Science and Technology Education
23

similar documents