Kinesthetic Astronomy
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Kinesthetic Astronomy Teaching the Daily, Yearly, & Seasonal Cycles Tom Hooten Director, Hudnall Planetarium. Intro. Developed by Dr. Cheri Morrow and Michael Zawaski Space Science Institute Inquiry-based, sensory experience Field tested

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Kinesthetic Astronomy

Teaching the Daily, Yearly, & Seasonal Cycles

Tom Hooten

Director, Hudnall Planetarium


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Intro

  • Developed by Dr. Cheri Morrow and Michael Zawaski

  • Space Science Institute

  • Inquiry-based, sensory experience

  • Field tested

  • Intended for grades 6 and up, but can be tailored to some earlier grades.


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ACTIVITYPREREQUISITES


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  • Prerequisite skills & knowledge

    • Has observed daily motion of the sun

    • Knows the location of earth’s poles & equator

    • Has observed that sun is higher in the sky during summer & lower during winter.

    • Knows the difference between a star and a planet.

    • Knows there are 360 degrees in a circle and can estimate 45 degrees and 90 degrees.


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  • Specific Learning Goals

    • Explain a proper size & distance scale for sun, earth, & nearest star.

    • Explain the astronomical meanings of rotation as spin and revolution as orbit.

    • Explain why Sun appears to rise in east & set in west.

    • Demonstrate why we see different constellations throughout the year.

    • Understand why people in US see the same stars as people in China but at different times of day.

    • Demonstrate constant tilt of earth’s axis toward Polaris results in seasonal variations.


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  • This activity includes props.

  • Includes written assessments.

    • 1 pre

    • 1 post

    • 14 embedded

  • Requires space to form a circle.

  • Time to Implement: 3-6 hours

  • Well matched with TEKS.

  • Is a holistic approach to celestial cycles.

  • Holistic: is the idea that the properties of a system cannot be determined or explained by the sum of its components alone.


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Proper Size-Distance Scales http://www.spacescience.org/education/


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  • Grapefruit represents the Sun http://www.spacescience.org/education/

  • How big would Earth be?

    • About the size of the ball of a ball point pen

  • How far away would Earth be on this scale?

    • About 50 feet away from the grapefruit

  • What is the next closest star to the Sun?

    • The alpha Centauri system (Proxima Centauri)

  • How far away is alpha Centauri?

    • 4.3 Light Years

  • On our scale model how far to the next grapefruit?

    • About 2500 miles


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The Kinesthetic Astronomy Circle http://www.spacescience.org/education/


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  • Your body represents the earth. http://www.spacescience.org/education/

  • The sun is in the middle of the circle.

  • The zodiac constellations are outside the circle.

  • Is this set up of Earth-Sun and stars to scale?

  • Is Earth as large as our bodies compared to the Sun?

  • Are the stars this close to the Sun and Earth?


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Body Geography http://www.spacescience.org/education/


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  • Point to your North Pole. http://www.spacescience.org/education/

  • Point to your South Pole.

  • Where is the equator?

  • What hemisphere is above the equator?

  • What hemisphere is below the equator?

  • Where is North America?

  • Where is South America?

  • What is on the other side of the Earth from North America?

  • Where is Australia?

  • Which hand is your eastward hand?

  • Which hand is your westward hand?


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The Meaning of Day & Night http://www.spacescience.org/education/


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  • How does the Sun appear to move in the sky? http://www.spacescience.org/education/

  • Face toward our sun.

  • What time would it be along a line that runs down the middle of the front of you?

  • Why is it midday?

  • The line that runs north-south, midway between your east and west is called your meridian.

  • When the Sun is directly out in front of you at noon, it is “on your meridian.”

  • If the Sun is on your meridian, what time of day is it?


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  • Face directly away from the sun. http://www.spacescience.org/education/

  • Is the Sun on your meridian?

  • What time is it at your meridian?

  • What do you see on your meridian?

  • What time is it along a line that runs along the middle of your back?

  • What would people there see in the sky?

  • Rotate 12 hours.

  • Rotate 24 hours.

  • Did you rotate in the correct direction?


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  • Face the sun again. http://www.spacescience.org/education/

  • With arms held to your sides, look down along your “E” arm.

  • The person to your left is “low in the east.”

  • The person to your right is “low in the west.”

  • What is visible at any given time is what is above your horizon, between “E” & “W”.


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  • Make a 90 degree turn toward east. http://www.spacescience.org/education/

  • What is low in your east?

  • What is low in your west?

  • What time of day is this when the Sun is low in your west?

  • Why is this called sunset?

  • Why does the sun disappear in the west?

  • Does the sun set at the same time everyday of the year?


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  • Rotate to noon. rise and set?

  • Rotate 45 degrees toward the east.

  • Is it before or after noon?

  • Is it before or after sunset?

  • Is the sun in the eastern or the western sky?

  • What time of day is it?


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  • Go to 3 am. rise and set?

  • Is it before or after midnight?

  • Is it before or after sunrise?

  • Go to 3 pm.

  • What is the time along a line down the middle of your back, say in China?

  • What is today’s date in the US at 3 pm?

  • What would be the date in central China where it is 3 am?



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  • Rotate to noon. rise and set?

  • What do we call the patterns of stars in the night sky?

  • What are some examples of constellations?

  • Between what times of day do we see stars other than the sun?

  • Will the stars and constellations appear to rise and set?


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  • Rotate to just past sunset. rise and set?

  • Look at a constellation visible in your nighttime sky.

  • Slowly rotate to midnight and stop.

  • What happened to your chosen constellation?

  • Where is your constellation now?

  • Do stars appear to rise and set?

  • Do the stars really move?

  • Why do the stars appear to rise and set?


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Adding Earth’s Tilt rise and set?


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  • Face the sun. rise and set?

  • Tilt your earth body toward Polaris.

  • Does everyone look like they are tilted the same?

  • Rotate to sunset and pause.

  • Rotate to midnight and pause.

  • Rotate to sunrise and pause.

  • Rotate back to noon.

  • How much time does it take Earth to rotate once?


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The Meaning of a Year rise and set?


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  • Who has a birthday today? rise and set?

  • How many trips around the Sun have you made in your life?

  • A trip around the sun is called an orbit.

    • An orbit is sometimes called a revolution.

  • What is the shape of the Earth’s orbit?

  • How many times does Earth rotate around its axis during one orbit around the sun?

  • How long does it take Earth to orbit the sun?


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  • Which way does Earth orbit around the sun? rise and set?

    • Hint: After the New Year, you would see Taurus in the night sky

    • Hint: Later in the year you would see Leo in the night sky.

    • Hint: Still later you would see Scorpio in the night sky.

  • What is Earth’s orbital period?

  • How many rotations occur during one orbital period?

  • Now make one year happen!



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  • Return to local noon. rise and set?

  • Is everyone still tilted toward Polaris?

  • Who has their upper body (Northern Hemisphere) leaning most directly toward the Sun?

  • What time of year is it when Earth is at this position in its orbit?

  • This is the time of the summer solstice; the first day of summer in N hemisphere.

  • This person is Mr./Ms. Summer.


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  • What is the time at Mr./Ms. Summer’s meridian? away from the Sun?

  • What is the season in North America?

  • What is the date in North America?

  • What is the season in South America?

  • What is the date in South America?

  • What is the time in China?

  • What is the date in China?

  • What is the season in China?

  • What is the season in Australia?


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  • Mr./Ms. Winter rotate to midnight. away from the Sun?

  • Is the Northern Hemisphere of Mr./Ms. Winter closer to the Sun than their Southern Hemisphere?

  • Do you remember that our model is not to scale?

  • If Earth is the tip of a pen 50 feet away from the grapefruit-sized Sun, is tilting the pen tip going to make one part of it significantly closer to the Sun than any other part?


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  • What makes winter different from summer? to see the Sun?

    • Winter: colder, fewer daylight hours, sun lower

  • Why is it colder in winter and warmer in summer?

  • Does distance from the sun cause it to be warmer in summer?

  • If Earth’s seasons have nothing to do with distance from the sun, what is it about the tilt that causes it to be colder in winter and warmer in summer?


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  • When the northern hemisphere is leaning away from the Sun, do you have to look higher or lower to see the noontime sun?

  • If the sun appears lower at noon will it spend more or less time in the sky during the day?

  • If the sun spends less time in the sky will we have more or fewer daylight hours?

  • If we have fewer daylight hours, will there be more or less time to heat Earth’s surface?

  • So will the temperature be warmer or colder?


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  • Extensions: Southern Hemisphere.

    • Locate the equinoxes and everyone’s birthday.

    • Difference between solar day and sidereal day

    • What does it mean to be a “Leo”?

    • The night sky at various locations on Earth.

    • Who can see Orion when?

    • Comparing Mars & Earth seasons.


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  • Assessment: Southern Hemisphere.

    • 1 pre-test, 1 post-test, 14 embedded tests

    • About how much (out of 360 degrees) does Earth move in orbit in one day? Explain.

    • What time of year do we experience more daylight hours? Why?

    • Do we see the same stars in winter as in summer?

    • Why is it warmer in summer than in winter?


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THANK YOU Southern Hemisphere.

http://planetarium.tjc.edu


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