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Lesson Title: Points of Light
May 11, 2012

Unit: Earth and Space Science - Universe

Grade Levels: 7-9

Connection To Curriculum: Science, Mathematics and Technology

Teacher Prep Time: 2 hours

Lesson Time Needed: 4 hours

Complexity Moderate

Keywords: stars, galaxies, constellations, star field, sampling, light pollution, telescope, planetarium, online activity


Pens or pins to poke holes
20- by 25-foot, 4-mL black plastic sheeting
Large roll duct tape
Large black trash bag
Window- or floor-level fan
Extension cord

This lesson guide integrates a series of activities looking at and measuring objects in the night sky.

Students will:
• Discuss the effect of light pollution on the number of objects visible in the night sky.
• Differentiate between stars and galaxies.
• Discuss the cultural implications of constellations and create a constellation myth.

First page of Points of Light

Lesson Guide
Points of Light Lesson
[103KB PDF file]



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Lesson Activities and Sequence
The suggested sequence introduces students to counting stars by statistical sampling and progressing through to an exploration of physical and then visual groupings of stars.

  1. Light Pollution Star Count
    Students use a work sheet provided by Globe at Night to determine the level of light pollution by using observable magnitudes.
    Keywords: light pollution

  2. Counting Your Lucky Stars
    Students use statistical sampling to estimate the number of stars in a portion of the sky.
    Keywords: star field, sampling

  3. Hubble Deep Field Academy
    Students use a Web activity to count and classify galaxies.
    Keywords: Hubble Space Telescope, online activity, sampling

  4. Stories in the Sky
    Students create a constellation in a portable planetarium and write a constellation myth to explain it.
    Keywords: constellations, stars, planetarium

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Science as Inquiry
• Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.
• An appreciation of "how we know" what we know in science.

Earth and Space Science
• Earth in the solar system.
• Origin and evolution of the universe.

History and Nature of Science
• Science as a human endeavor.
• History of science.
• Nature of scientific knowledge.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, NCTM
Statistics and probability
• Use random sampling to draw inferences about a population.

ISTE NETS Performance Indicators for Students, ISTE
Research and Information Fluency
• Process data and report results.

Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
• Collect and analyze data to identify solutions and make informed decisions.


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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
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