To my 8th Grade Students,
I’m sure you’re thinking, what the heck is this student teacher going to teach me for the next 8 weeks? As your student teacher I get the pleasure of teaching you about the Earth and the Moon* and their place in the universe. But how does this relate to you in the slightest bit? As you may already know, we live on the Earth and the moon is that tiny, shiny white blob in the sky that we see at night when the sun sets for the day. Sometime the Moon is big, sometimes the Moon is red, and sometimes we may not see the Moon at all! But why is that important to you?
Believe it on not, the Moon has quite an impact on the Earth. Remember that cool solar eclipse you got to see this summer (2017) in which you had to buy special glasses just to look? Below is a video to show you a visual explanation of how a solar eclipse happens and how the moon plays an important role!
Pretty cool right? I think so. The Moon is a very cool, um, moon (creative name, right?) and just as the Earth rotates around the sun, the moon is rotating around the Earth too. What is cool about the the moon is that it has phases.. and some people, especially during the full moon phase, in which you can see the entire moon, brings out their weird side! Do you ever feel that way when their is a full moon? Maybe make some observations next time a full moon comes around! Now I’m sure you’re wondering.. what else does the Earth have to offer me? It offers you EVERYTHING! For example, what is your favorite season? Summer, Fall? Well guess what, if it wasn’t for the Earth’s tilt axis, we wouldn’t have your favorite season.
There are so many little things about the Earth that you may not realize impacts your life. In addition, the Earth can also cause eclipses, just like the moon. Remember when I said sometimes the Moon can be red? That’s all thanks to the Earth getting in front of the sun! (Remember: we can see the moon because the sun is reflecting off of it throughout the night!). Pretty cool, huh? Throughout our 8 weeks together, we will go into much detail about these facts, and I promise it will be cool and fun to learn about!
My message to you is this: When I start to teach you about astronomy, I will always make it so you can bring your education outside of the classroom. I want you to not only remember what you have learned about the Earth and the Moon, but to be able to apply it to your every day lives. I want science to feel real to you, not something that is left in the 8th grade forever. Because in reality, science is around you all the time! And as your educator, I want you to realize that, and I want you to know that you are a scientist, even when you are not wearing a lab coat. Here’s to an amazing 8 weeks together!
Your Student Teacher, Ms. Line
To My Fellow Readers and Educators
Being enthusiastic about science and teaching our students about phenomenons are extremely important in our classrooms today, because there is no better way to teach science than to relate it to our students every day lives. Students may be able to explain a phenomena, which in our case could be the solar eclipse of 2017, and teach it in a way that our students will understand it. However, without doing formative assessments like quizzes or tests, how do we really know if they “get it”?
The best way to assess our students understanding of the phenomenon is how our students could use their knowledge of the Earth, the sun and the moon in ways in which they can create a product. This product could be of their choice, whether its a model, a project or even an investigation in which they find out more about this particular phenomenon. Our students could benefit from creating a product because they could apply this product into the real world, and possibly grow with it throughout their school days or even lifetime. It allows creativity as well as their knowledge of science to create something meaningful to them, as well as creating a community of not only learners, but learners willing to share what they have learned and now have a great knowledge of. In addition, it shows our students that their knowledge of the moon, the sun and the Earth is more than observable- they are able to create investigations in which makes you think and shows that you can use the resources around you.
* NGSS MS-ESS1-1 Earth’s Place in the Universe