5/17/12 Below are some answers Alicia and Carla had to Vicki's questions:
  • What were your students reactions to living with a question without knowing the answer? Did it make the more motivated to learn the answer? The students enjoyed the process of "living with the questions." We noticed that the first time, they were a little unsure of what to do exactly, to talk about a question for an extended time seemed odd to them. With modeling and talking strategies the kids were able to see that talking and jotting down their thoughts was a very fun process. The began to look forward to these days in class as well as connect their thoughts by drawing lines from one group members thoughts to another members ideas that were related. Also, the kids looked forward to bring the questions home to see if their parents knew the answers. Surprisingly, I had one or two dads who were right on with their responses, however this was not the norm.
  • How does building a conceptual framework of the forces that allow a solar system to exist help student understanding of the facts attributed to the objects in the solar system? Understanding the big ideas of motion and gravity helped children throughout the unit to understand some of the facts they have "known" about space. For example, students were able to understand that each planet has it's own gravitational pull which is why some planets have their own moons. Also, they understand why planets and moons don't just float away.
  • How did the children use my book in the classroom? Did they read in groups? Did they do close reading to understand the concepts as I've written them? Throughout the unit, the book "What's the Big Idea" was presented in a variety of ways. First, the children were presented with the questioning page, in poster form where they could study the question and cartoons while still having plenty of space to jot tieir ideas doen on paper. A second way the book was used, was on the Smartboard on the "learn the answer" days when the teacher read the chapter to the class where the text was large enough to be seen by all students.
  • What did you learn about teaching the unit this way? Did you have fun? Although we teach most of our science units by posing a question such as "What is an electromagnet?" then having kids discover the answer through science labs, this format never seems to make sense while teaching abstract concepts such as the Solar System. This unit taught us that the inquiry process is the most valuable part of the learning. A unit on the solar system can be so much more than just learning the facts, instead it should be about how we learned this and looking for evidence in our every day lives that what we know is true. We think it was a fun process.
  • What surprised you about teaching the unit this way? Are you more or less likely to teach it again this way or go back to the way you previously taught it? We have put in a request to revise our old unit of study on the solar system over the summer to reflect more of the new thinking. We feel that knowing what we now know, we can be teaching this unit more effectively, as an inquiry based unit.
  • Does this change any preconceived concepts about what your students are capable of learning and creating? If so, what are they? One thing that was very powerful was putting kids on the NASA website. Kids of all reading abilities were able to take away a lot of information, even though it was written for adults. It's almost as if the content was differentiated for all learners in the class. The stronger readers read, and understood some of the more difficult concepts and explained it to their partners. There was something for everyone!
  • What did you include that we didn't discuss? Did the children read other books? If so what did they read? Did they go to the library to get other books? The children read other books we happened to have in the classroom, but time and time again we found that the information was out of date. I think it was empowering for the students to realize that the information they read on the NASA website was the latest and greatest thinking writen by people in the field.


Some of the work that came out of this unit:




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5/16
Throughout the unit on the Solar System, we altered our teaching style to present questions to students and allow substantial time for them to exchange ideas with peers, and ask family members for their perspectives. After the students pondered these questions, the following day we would teach the answers to the questions that were posed. As teachers, we learned how to turn this very abstract unit into something where the students can utilize the inquiry process. We restructured our current lessons on the Solar System to supplement the new material in the book, What’s the Big Idea? This allowed us to provide the students with the conceptual understanding of material covered on our unit assessment. The students researched through the NASA website and turned their research into posters that contained pictures from scientific imaging systems. They learned how many moons their planet has, the instruments used to capture images, and even what their planet is composed of.

Examples of student learning:

Planet: Jupiter
  • 100 meters / 300 feet
  • There are 50 moons that do not go in its gravitational field because motion beats gravity.
  • In the 1800s there was a volcano on Jupiter.
  • It is the fifth planet from the sun.
  • In 1995, Galilelo spacecraft sent a probe to Jupiter, which crashed because of its strong gravitational field.

(Pictures to follow)

4/23/12

Vicki,

We are currently in the process of finishing up our unit on the Solar System. The students in my class just finished pondering why the sun doesn't burn out in their think tanks. This week, we will be learning the answer. That completes the last lesson in our unit, so next we are going to review for the assessment. Thanks again for all of your help! --Alicia


3/23/12- We completed our projects and they came out great! We proudly displayed our miniature model of the planets orbiting the sun. We are now discovering that a bowling ball falls just as fast as a small marble. Next week, we will be expanding our thoughts about gravity and motion as we learn why the moon doesn't fall to Earth. --Alicia

3/21/12- I am teaching my class the answer to "Which falls faster, a bowling ball or a marble?" today in class and plan in showing this video afterwards...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPfyVWyPVUk





The video came out great! Nice work!






Bogert third graders research the solar system on the NASA website:










3/1/12
Today was our second Skype session with Vicki! Our class is so intrigued by their findings, that they just couldn't wait to ask our expert more questions! Students were eager to let Vicki know the interesting things they found and pondered thoughtful questions such as, "Why does Venus have a magnetic field like Earth?" This connection between their prior knowledge and the knowledge they gained in this unit is very powerful! They were also curious when they heard that Jupiter can pull things in. One student asked, "If Jupiter can pull things in, why don't its moons get pulled in too?" Vicki helped us to make the connection to Newton's First Law of Motion, which we learned in the beginning of our unit. Since the moons are moving, they do not get pulled in, but that would not be the case if the moons were stationary. We are very excited about all of our powerful learning today!

Alicia

Carla: I sent you an email on this and an invitation to put it in my Dropbox. Heidi can help you do this. Can't wait to see them. Vicki

2/28/12
Vicki, I took those videos of the students working on the NASA website. The files are too large to be uploaded to the wiki and I'm assuming I won't be able to email them. Any ideas? I'll ask the tech department here at school as well.


2/27/12 My class seemed to share the same enthusiasm for research on the NASA website. After telling them that the sight we are reading from was written by NASA and some adults thought the text might be too hard to read, they took on the challange and read with vigor throughout the research session. Students began to shriek with excitement at first glimpse of the photographs of their planets and were calling their partners over to their computers to show the interesting facts they discovered and pictures they found. Two groups realized that the same instrument was used to collect data on two different planets. I look forward to having more tome to research tomorrow afternoon.

2/27/12

Today in Science we started to research planets for our project. The students in my class worked in partnerships to research information about a planet on the NASA website. I started by telling my students that this is a tricky website that most adults don't feel kids are able to use. However, I told them that I know they are very capable of learning some great information from this "adult" site, so we would be using it instead of the kids version for our research. This allowed them to feel okay about not understanding 100% of the information, but also motivated them to achieve higher goals.

My students eagerly began by browsing the website and reading through the information on their planet. As I walked around the room, the students had such brilliant insights such as, "I think it is so cool that my planet has a magnetic field. Can I write that down?" and "Wow, Neptune has 13 planets? I never knew that!" It was wonderful to see them both perplexed and enthused by the marvels of Science.

My students will be continuing this research in class before our next session with Vicki. They will be encouraged to not just record the basic facts about their planet, but think about a discovery they made that deeply interests them. Keeping this part of the research open-ended in nature will allow my students to focus on what they are passionate about learning. This will be the focal point of a upcoming mini "teaching project." The partnerships will then work together to create posters of their exciting discoveries, which will encompass the information they learned and pictures they found on their planets. Then we will arrange each poster together to create a model of the Solar System that depicts the way the planets orbit around the sun! Lastly, the students will teach each other the information they learned. Again, many thanks to Vicki who has been working closely with us to make this unit possible!

--Alicia


Vicki,
The children will be working on the research project over the next few days in class. They will be heading into the computer lab to find information through the NASA website. In addition to the questions that Carla posted, the students will be researching the size of the planet they are learning about, what the planet is made out of, the planet's moons, and the instruments the scientists used to learn about the planet. They will then take the information that they collected, and work on a poster that presents the facts they learned. We are anticipating that it may be challenging for them to understand the instruments the scientists used, so we are hopeful that you might be able to model this in your next Skype session with us on Thursday. (I will be sending you an email shortly regarding our final Skype). The children are eagerly waiting our final Skype session so they can understand more information about instruments that are used to study planets. They also have some great questions that they are waiting to ask. Thanks for being such a valuable part of their inquiry process!

We will be wrapping up their project in the coming week and will continue posting about the remaining lessons throughout this unit. These lessons will still follow the questions and think tank format of our previous lessons from your book. The students have really enjoyed brainstorming answers to these complex questions with their groups. Moreover, they have really enjoyed teaching their families what they learned! Lastly, in the coming weeks we will be taking a trip to a Planetarium to support this unit. We will keep you posted!

--Alicia

Carla: I know exactly what you mean. Some of the reading is challenging and it gave me pause. You might want to poke around in the "For Kids" section. However, I think it's also an opportunity to expose kids to the way scientists write--it takes some skill and background knowledge to read these texts for meaning. Tell them that this is very challenging reading and you don't expect them to understand it. It's ok to let them know it's a challenge. You might be surprised at how they rise to the occasion. That's where we authors come in. We can read the difficult texts and extract the meaning. So if the kids want to know more, let me know what photos turn them on and I'll explain them to them. Perhaps that's what we should discuss in our Skype visit on Thursday. All I need to know is what photos they've picked. If you'd like to discuss this further, give me a call this afternoon.
Vicki

Vicki,
I've had some more time to think about the new research assignment. I'm thinking that I will assign partners one of the topics you mentioned (Mecury, Venus, Earth, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) I'm excited to have the children use the NASA website because the pictures are very vivid and I agree that they will generate excitement. The only problem I am having is the level of difficulty of the text on the NASA website. I know my 8 year olds are going to experience some challenges with comprehending what they are reading. I think they will learn valuable things from the website, but I have some reservations about the site at the same time. Hopefully working in partnerships will help with this problem but let me know your thoughts.
I really liked your idea of having students search for some images on their topic then have them tell what each photo shows and what it tells us about the planet. I think using these images pushes past simply reading and reporting facts. Within the research requirements I will ask them to note how the photo was taken, where was the telescope, and see what questions the photos generate about learning more. I think I will have them make a poster that they can share with their classmates.

Research Lesson:
Connection: We have been learning how the earth spins and revolves around the sun. But as you already know, the sun and earth are not the only two planets involved in the solar system. Today we are going to learn the names of the other planets and the order that the exist in.

Teach: (Use NASA image)
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/
Teach names and order of the planets from image.

Now that you know all the names and order of the planets, we are going to begin our research. You are each going to research a planet with a partner and teach what you have learned to your classmates.

Research Assignment:
  • Use the NASA website to find one or two images of your planet
  • Print 1-2 images
  • Continue to read about your planet and plan to teach the class about the following three questions:
  • What does each photo show us and tell us about the planet?
  • How was the photo taken?
  • What remaining questions do you still have about the planet?
Independent Work: Students work with partners on computers.







Vicki,

Thanks for the valuable feedback. This will really help us to focus on good topics for our projects!

Alicia

Carla:

The problem with most of those topics is that it is looking for facts about the heavens rather than engaging kids in the process of how we know which is essential to scientific thinking. The NASA photos, which are spectacular, let kids see for themselves how we know what we know. For example, we see craters on the moon and infer that something crashed there. But there is video of Jupiter that captures such a crash. It's amazing. I'd like to see the kids each pick a different topic and then go hunting in the NASA gallery on their chosen topic until they make a discovery that really impresses them so that they can't wait to share it with everyone, The photos are all real scientific data. It keeps the research simple and focused. They are not asking good questions because they don't know enough to ask good questions. They need to learn stuff. I'll make notes below on the problems with the topics chosen. So I suggest that you assign subjects from the solar system. Give a different topic (Mecury, Venus, Earth, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, asteroids, comets. to each child or have them work in pairs. Send them to the NASA photo gallery and have the look at the photos for their topic until they find something that excites them. There's soooo much there. I promise it will generate real learning and excitement.
http://search.nasa.gov/search/search.jsp?nasaInclude=solar+system+photos You need to go look at this site to see what I'm talking about.

2/15/2012

Possible topics for Ms. Palmeri's class


Exploring :



Galaxy clusters --This is not a question. You can look at photos of these on the NASA site but they are not related to the solar system which is what you're supposed to be teaching.

The Sun (what makes it so hot) This is nuclear fusion--a very difficult concept these kids are not prepared to understand. This will just prompt the regurgitation of meaningless facts

The Milky Way? Not a question and too big a topic.

Pluto Good

Space travel / Space research (possibly using Cars on Mars by Alexandra Siy A lot of the pictures from this book are from NASA--this book can illuminate some of those pictures.

How were craters on the moon created? See the impact in action on the surface of Jupiter on the NASA website

What was the last planet discovered? (new planet) Again, regurgitation of information. Look on the NASA site for how we know about this planet.

Dwarf planets

Phases of the Moon Find photos on NASA site.

Saturn (rings) Good

Black holes too complicated--relies on understanding atomic structure.

Sizes of planets Not a question. Just facts.

How were planets created The formation of the solar system is inferred from TONS of data. Regurgitating this theory as if it were fact is not what they should be doing

Mars Good.

We generated this list before I saw your last post. Let me know if you think any of these topics can be supplemental to the research on the photos from space. Carla, before these kids can ask questions they need to know stuff. Let them go and look at the photos. I promise they'll find great material that is exciting, informative and memorable.

2/11/12

Good morning, Carla:

I woke up this morning with an idea for you. Your students' questions are a very positive sign. They are interested in learning more about the universe. However, I think that some of them are too unfocused to zero in on meaningful research and some of them are so broad that they will be in deep water trying to understand the concepts. So here's a suggestion. Let's stick to the curriculum mandate that you have to teach the solar system. Why not have students do research to find some fabulous photos of the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Earth (from space) Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto? Then have them tell what each photo shows and what it tells us about the planet. They should note how the photo was taken, where was the telescope, and see what questions the photos generate about learning more. They can then share what they learn with the class and they will be dealing with one piece of real data (the photos) that scientists use.
Whadya think?

Vicki



2/10/12

Carla: These research questions need work. Many of them are facts that we may or may not know the answer to. The kids need to ask questions that emphasize how we know. I'm going to edit the questions to point them in the right direction:

Class Research Questions
How long does it take to travel around in space? DJ and Luke D.This is a meaningless question. Are they asking about space travel for people? Who's traveling and where are they going? Perhaps a better question is Why did we decide to send people into space? Or what have we learned about space from the manned space program (a HUGE topic). They could pick one aspect--zero gravity and its effect on the human body.
How does the universe expand? A better question is: How do we know that the universe is expanding?Amanda and Jordan
How do stars form? A better question is: What is the life cycle of a star? How doe we know about this? Kate and Nyrah
How are stars created? This is the same question as the one above.Tyler C.
Why is Jupiter so big? A better question is What do we know about Jupiter and how do we know it? Matthew
Why is Jupiter the biggest plannet? Asking "why" implies causality. It is better to ask the question: What is the difference between the gas giants and the "earth like" planets and what do scientists think caused the difference. Bella
Why is pluto not a planet anymore? What is the definition of a planet? What is the story about Pluto and why are scientists deciding that it is now something else? Ella
What are the other planets made out of? A better approach is to find out how we know what a planet is made of. Hint: It's all in the study of the light that is reflected off the surface. Rebecca
How do galaxies form? This goes back to the "big bang theory." Sid
How do the stars cycle around the earth? A better question is how does the star map change with the seasons? How have stars played a part in navigation on earth?Liam
Why does Saturn have a ring? Actually Saturn as more than one ring. A better question is What do we know about Saturn? Daniel
Do other galaxies have life? A better question is: What are scientists doing to see if there is life in the universe?Brendan
What is the fastest thing? At this point scientists believe that the speed of light is the fastest thing in the universe. Tyler might be interested in learning how we measure the speed of light (the Michaelson-Morley experiment) Tyler o
Why is mars red? What does its red color tell us about Mars? Juke J.
How did earth begin? What is the latest theory about the formation of the solar system? Brooke
What is the moon's cycle? This is best explained with a model with the earth moon and sun and a flashlight. There are lots of sources for thisMichelle
How can you tell a star is young or old or if it can reproduce? Stars don't "reproduce." How about just asking, How do we know the age of a star? Or What kind of star is the sun and how do we know this? Arielle
How do stars get built? This is the basic question about the origin of the universe. A better approach is to ask, Under what conditions do we think stars form? Jax

I would group some of the kids to work on the same question: Amanda, Jordan, Arielle, Jax and Sid are all interested in the "Big Bang" theory and origins of galaxies.

Matthew, Bella, Ella, Rebecca, Daniel, Juke J., Brooke and Michelle are all asking questions about the solar system.

Liam, Brendan, Tyler, might be interested in looking into the nature of light to astronomers--how color, brightness, reflection, and the speed of light give us information about the heavens. Some of these questions may be well beyond what third graders are capable of. One thing is clear, in order to ask a meaningful question, you need to have some knowledge about the subject. Here are some questions that may pique some interest:

What can the brightness of a star tell us about the star?

What can the color of a star tell us about the star?

How can scientists tell if a star has planets?

What kind of star is our sun?

Also, no one mentioned Mercury and Venus. Perhaps some kids would like to look into those planets.















2/7/12
The class is currently talking about how they know the earth is moving when it looks like the earth is moving. Some of my favorite answers are...
"because the astronauts told us"
"because of gravity!"
I can't wait to teach the answer tomorrow!!

2/7/12
Day 4 Revised

Objective: SWBAT discover that stellar parallax helps us to understand how we know the earth is moving when it looks like the sky is moving.

Connection: The last time we met for science, we thought "How do we know the earth is moving when it looks like the sky is moving?" You thought together in groups, you took it home to discuss the same questions with your families, and you lived like scientists for the past few days not knowing the answers. Today we are going to learn the answer!

Teach: Today I want to teach you the term “parallax.” A parallax is the apparent motion of the background compared to the foreground due to a shift in the position of the observer or person watching. This shift is not real; it just looks that way. The parallax that you observe with your eyes in called “ocular” (meaning eyes) parallax. The parallax you observe with the stars is called “stellar.” Before we start thinking reading about Ptolemy, we need to understand that the evidence he used to prove his thinking is the way things appear, or parallax. People believe their senses. Read page 10- discuss Ptolemy's ideas. Discuss how our senses don’t always tell us what is happening!
Read page 11- discuss Copernicus's ideas
Perform thought experiment (Model with Youtube Clip)
Read page 12- discuss Copernicus's findings
Play Stellar Parallax clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D7sbn27arE
Read page 13-discuss 2 types of motion
Think about cartoons

Active Engagement: Describe what Ptolemy thought. Describe what Copernicus thought.

Link: Ocular Parallax experiment
Close one eye and cover (something in classroom) with your finger. Then open that eye while closing the other eye. What happened? You saw the background from a different position, which made it look like it jumped. Draw what you saw the first time and the next time. This is called Ocular (meaning eye) Parallax.

How does this help you to understand Stellar (meaning star) Parallax?

Write your understanding on paper to explain to your parents tonight.

Homework: Teach parents what you learned about this question.

2/3/12

Day 3 Revised

Objective: SWBAT discuss why they think the Earth is moving when it looks like the sky is moving.

Connection: Scientists, we have been working really hard to think deeply about some really interesting questions about the world around us. We learned that as scientists, we don’t discover the answers in one day, and we need to be comfortable with that. After all, all of these great discoveries were made after people asked some very important questions and tested their predictions in experiments, made observations, and made very careful measurements!

Teach: Today I want to ask you how you know when something is moving. How can you tell something is moving when it is moving so slow you can’t see it move? Is there any motion that is so fast your eye can’t even see it? Some motions are fast, and others are slow, but motion is a change in position over time. How can we measure it? Can we use what we know about motion to think about how we know the Earth is moving when it looks like the sky is moving? I want you to think carefully about this, and don’t just automatically accept the first answer that pops into your head. I’m here today to tell you that people long ago once thought the world was flat! Then, a man named Ptolemy thought that the Earth was the center of the universe and the sun and planets revolved around us!

Active Engagement: Students say a few ideas as teach jots down thinking.

Independent Practice: Students get in their think tanks and begin their chalk and talk with their groups.

Share: Share a few chalk and talk ideas. Much better approach. You might also mention some units of measurement for speed or velocity--miles per hour, revolutions per minute (rpms) for spinning. You might also ask about their experience moving on a bicycle, or a car, or an airplane. How fast do they walk? This is an opportunity for a lot of divergent thinking which is important for creativity.
2/2/12


Day 3

Objective: SWBAT discuss why they think the Earth is moving when it looks like the sky is moving.

Connection: Scientists, we have been working really hard to think deeply about some really interesting questions about the world around us. We learned that as scientists, we don’t discover the answers in one day, and we need to be comfortable with that. [After all, all of these great discoveries were made after people asked some very important questions and tested their predictions in experiments.] This sentence in brackets isn't entirely true. Astronomy is not exactly a "hands-on" science until recently when we've got instruments on planets. We came to understand how the solar system works through observation and verrrrrry careful measurments that got increasingly accurate over the centuries.

Teach: Today I want to talk with you about another very important question. How do we know the Earth is moving when it looks like the sky is moving? You might want to as them first how they know when something, anything is moving? Ask, how can you tell if something is moving when it is moving so slowly you can't see it move? You want to get them to realize that motion is a change in position over time. Ask, Is some motion faster than the eye can see? Both slow and fast are relative terms. Ask how can we measure motion? Motion is distance over time. I want you to think carefully about this, and don’t just automatically accept the first answer that pops into your head. I’m here today to tell you that people long ago once thought the world was flat! Then, a man named Ptolemy thought that the Earth was the center of the universe and the sun and planets revolved around us!

Active Engagement: Students say a few ideas as teach jots down thinking.

Independent Practice: Students get in their think tanks and begin their chalk and talk with their groups.

Share: Share a few chalk and talk ideas.


Day 4
SWBAT discover that stellar parallax helps us to understand how we know the earth is moving when it looks like the sky is moving. I'm very careful about introducing technical terms. Don't give the name "stellar parallax" until they understand the phenomenon. First you have to define "parallax" which is the apparent (not real) motion of the background compared to the foreground due to a shift in the position of the observer. The language for definitions in science is very precise. Every word has meaning. The parallax you observe with your eyes is called "ocular" (meaning eyes) parallax. The parallax you observe with the stars is called "stellar." I always introduce ocular parallax before I talk about stellar parallax. They can make the generalization more easily then. I'm going to cover these concepts again when I tell the story of Galileo to them. The good news about that is instead of me introducing these terms to them, it will reinforce what you've already taught them.
Connection: The last time we met for science, we thought "How do we know the earth is moving when it looks like the sky is moving?" You thought together in groups, you took it home to discuss the same questions with your families, and you lived like scientists for the past few days not knowing the answers. Today we are going to learn the answer!

Teach:
Read page 10- discuss Ptolemy's ideas You need to emphasize that the evidence for Ptolemy is the way things appear. People believed their senses. One of the BIG ideas here is that our senses don't always tell us what's really happening.
Read page 11- discuss Copernicus's ideas
Perform thought experiment (Model with Youtube Clip)
Read page 12- discuss Copernicus's findings
Play Stellar Parallax clip
Read page 13-discuss 2 types of motion
Think about cartoons

Active Engagement: Describe what Ptolemy thought. Describe what Copernicus thought.

Link: Ocular Parallax experiment
Close one eye and cover (something in classroom) with your finger. Then open that eye while closing the other eye. What happened? You saw the background from a different position, which made it look like it jumped. Draw what you saw the first time and the next time. This is called Ocular (meaning eye) Parallax.

How does this help you to understand Stellar (meaning star) Parallax?

Write your understanding on paper to explain to your parents tonight.

Homework: Teach parents what you learned about this question.


I am very excited to share the big news... OUR CLASS WILL BE WORKING WITH VICKI COBB!!
Ms. Palmeri's and Ms. Christiana's students will have the pleasure of working with Vicki thought out our science unit on the Solar System. We are in the beginning stages of our planning, but we can't wait to report more about our work

Alicia and I just met with Vicki to discuss our plans moving forward. She was very inspirational and I have a whole new outlook on how we should be teaching Science!! Through QUESTIONS!! These seemingly small questions will lead us to very big ideas. Vicki, I hope this all makes sense to you, if not, feel free to ask any questions you might have. I'm putting my comments and suggestions in hot pink (Vicki).

Science Unit: Looking at Light and Motion to Understand Big Ideas
Day 1: Students will be introduced to Big Ideas by learning about Vicki Cobb's work and the art of scientific inquiry. On this day students will hear What's a Big Idea?, the first few pages of the Book What's The Big Idea? Then students will be asked the question "Why does a rolling ball stop rolling?" From there, students will work in a think tank to discuss their ideas with classmates. Afterwards, they will be asked to think about the same question at home with their families.

Day 2: Students will learn the answer by reading and discussing "Why Does a Rolling Ball Stop Rolling?" To help students understand the concept, we will carry out the procedure of the Check It Out Box and roll balls as directed in the readings.

Day 3: Teach class that the earth revolves around the sun. (Lesson 2 in unit and lesson 8)

Day 4: Students will be posed with a new question: How do we know the earth is moving when it looks like the sky is moving? In a similar fashion to Day 1, students will discuss, while jotting down ideas in class and again at home with their families.

Day 5: Students will learn the answer by reading and discussing "How do we know the earth is moving when it looks like the sky is moving?" Children will practice with a thought experiment and discover what an ocular parallax means to discover what stelar parallax means. Show clip of Stellar Parallax

THE CLASS WILL MEET VICKI COBB!!!! During their time together, Vicki plans to discuss Galileo's story as well as answer any questions students might have after hearing it. Then, the Vicki plans to show them a video and discuss stellar parallax.


Formulate research question and work in think tanks to ponder each other's questions.

Day 6: Teach the earth spins (rotates) lesson 7 in unit.
Day 7: Reason for the seasons

Day 7: On this day students will work in "Think Tanks" to ponder the question of "If the earth is spinning, why don't we feel it move?" (Discuss rope swinging)

Day 8: The class will learn the answer to "If the earth is spinning, why don't we feel it move?" On this day we will use the experiment



Day 9: The class will work in think tanks to ponder the question "Which falls faster, a bowling ball or marble?"

Day 10: The class will learn the answer to the previous days question.

Day 11: The class will think about "Why doesn't the moon fall to earth?" and discuss in think tank groups

Day 12: The class will learn the answer to the previous day's question.
"Anti-Gravity Gizmo" that Vicki taught us (Found on website)

Day 13: Show order of planets and read aloud book on the sun found in the binder (Chapter 1)

Day 14: The class will think about "Why doesn't the sun burn out?" and discuss in think tank groups

Day 15: This class will learn the answer to the previous day's question.

Day 16: The moon journal


Common Core State Standards
2009 CCCS: Standard 5: Science, Grade 2 , 5.2 Physical Science C. Forms of Energy: Knowing the characteristics of familiar forms of energy, including potential and kinetic energy, is useful in coming to the understanding that, for the most part, the natural world can be explained and is predictable. 5.2.2.C.1 Compare, citing evidence, the heating of different colored objects placed in full sunlight. 5.2.2.C.2 Apply a variety of strategies to collect evidence that validates the principle that if there is no light, objects cannot be seen.
2009 CCCS: Standard 5: Science, Grade 4 , 5.1 Science Practices 5.1 Science Practices: Science is both a body of knowledge and an evidence-based, model-building enterprise that continually extends, refines, and revises knowledge. The four Science Practices strands encompass the knowledge and reasoning skills that students must acquire to be proficient in science. A. Understand Scientific Explanations: Students understand core concepts and principles of science and use measurement and observation tools to assist in categorizing, representing, and interpreting the natural and designed world.

Day 1: Possible Minilesson (Vicki, I'm so used to writing lessons in this format from all the literacy lessons we write, it seemed to fit)
Connection: Scientists, we are about ready to begin a new unit of study...but before we begin to learn anything, I need to tell you some REALLY BIG NEWS. Our class was selected to be the chosen students who have the opportunity to work with famous author...VICKI COBB!! She has written awesomely entertaining non-fiction books for kids. The titles of her books alone make kids fall in love with her almost immediately. Here are just a few titles, listen to these titles and think about if Vicki Cobb sounds like a cool author to have working with our class:
Science Experiments You Can Eat
We Dare You: Hundreds of Science Bets
Challenges, and Experiments You Can Do at Home
Bet You Can't: Science Impossibilities to Fool You
Don't Try This At Home: Science Fun For Kids on the Go
Do you think you would want the chance to get to meet her? Well you will!!! She will be working with us one day very soon.

Teach: Before we get to meet her, we have to learn a little bit about her work. She has written the book,
What's the Big Idea? I want you to listen to the introduction of her book and think deeply about what type of work she does.
Read book introduction and discuss
We are all going to have the chance to do the same type of work as her.
Let's start where she started...by wondering.
Pose Question: "Why does a ball stop rolling?"
Give the students the pdf and let them discuss what they see and what the characters are commenting on. Ask them what is motion. Ask them to consider how they know that they are moving and how they know some external object is moving. Seeing something move means that you see its position change over time. In physics motion is measured by velocity. There are three variables-- the first position and the second position over a period of time. You want to elicit from them that you know you are moving when the direction of the motion changes or when there is a change in position. These are all critical thinking skills that zero in on something very familiar but with rigor and precision.

Ask them if they know of any motion that doesn't stop. You want to elicit from them that the sun's rising every day is pretty reliable-- so whatever motion is producing that phenomenon is not slowing down or speeding up.

Active Engagement: Students say a few of their thoughts while teacher jots down thinking.

Link: Today, scientists, your work is to go off and wonder the very same thing Vicki Cobb has wondered about. I have these big chart papers with her question on them. We will use this time as a think tank to discuss our ideas in small groups. I'll give you all some markers to jot down the things you are saying, and if your thoughts connect to what someone else has said, draw a line to connect the two ideas. Off you go!!

Group Work: Small groups discuss their ideas about why a rolling ball stops rolling while jotting down ideas.

Share: Let's hear some of your thoughts. (Afterwards, jottings can be posted to the wiki so Vicki can here and see some of the students thinking) This is an excellent lesson. I think you should make the point that you are not going to give them the answer today. Scientists live with not knowing answers. So, although the answer exists you want them to experience the mystery and discuss the problem with their parents.

Day 2__
Connection: Scientists, yesterday we learned that our class is the lucky ones who will be working with the famous author Vicki Cobb. We also found out a little bit about her as a writer and her work with Science. We learned that Science is BIG IDEAS that we find by asking ourselves simpler questions that can be answered. Next, we were presented with the question of "Why does a rolling ball stop rolling?" You and your group members discussed, then you took the question home and discussed it with your families.
Teach: Today we are going to learn the answer! So, why does a rolling ball stop rolling? Its been researched for over 400 years.
Read page 4 (Smartboard): Perform Galileo's thought experiment
Read page 5: Discuss Newton's findings
Read Page 8: Discuss friction and Newton's First Law of Motion.

Active Engagement: Define friction and copy Newton's first Law of Motion onto worksheet.
Link: Today, in your groups you are going to work with each other to reteach what we just learned. You will have a tennis ball and a carpet square as well as your worksheet. During this time, you are to describe what is happening with the rolling ball and why it stops rolling. Then, on the back of the sheet, you are to write, in your own words, the answer to the question of why a rolling ball stops rolling. In this response, I will be looking for terms such as friction, Galileo, Isaac Newton, and Newton's first law of motion, as well as a description of your proof that you know this to be true.
Group Work: Groups work with the tennis ball and carpet square to prove the law. Friction or other outside force will always stop the rolling ball.
Independent Work: Students write the answer to why a rolling ball stops rolling in their own words
Share: With whole class roll the ball in three different scenarios and have students identify the outside force that stopped the ball.
1. Ball rolls and hits book shelf. Outside force? Bookshelf
2. Ball rolls and hit student’s leg. Outside force? Leg
3. Ball rolls and rolls and eventually stops without hitting anything. Outside force? Friction
Show more perpetual motion machines and discuss. All have failed. Most try to reduce friction to zero. Now that we know

that all objects in motion will stop at some point, this makes me think about another question. Is there anything that we know of that NEVER stops moving? Anything at all, anywhere ?