OUT OF THIS WORLD!

Grade 4: Out of This World!

Unit Description

During this unit students will make scientific connections that are out of this world! Students will learn about Earth’s cycle of day and night. They will also use visual arts and theatre to explore why seasons exist and how the tilt of Earth’s axis affects them. Also in this unit, the phases of the moon will be explored along with their sequential order. Students will immerse themselves in sketching and designing a 3D stabile. We will also observe how technology allows scientists to observe and study distant objects in the sky.

Unit Essential Question

How do the Earth and its Moon move?
What can we see in the sky?

Real World Context

Students must be able to recognize and understand how the tilt in the Earth’s axis affects seasonal changes throughout the year. This concept helps us understand why daytime and nighttime exist as well as the passage of time and the four seasons over a course of a 365-day year. Students also gain a firmer understanding of the solar system and our proximity to the sun and the other planets.

Cross-Cutting Interdisciplinary Concepts

Cycles
Cause and Effect
Relationships

Projects

Project 1: Documenting Phases of the Moon
In this project, students will design a field journal illustrating the eight phases of the moon to demonstrate understanding of the phases and cycles of the moon over time.

Project 2: Stabile Model of Earth, Sun and Moon
In this project, students will design and build a stabile model demonstrating the movement of the Moon, Sun and Earth. The Stabile design was first used by artist Alexander Calder. (He invented the mobile and the stabile). His artwork will be explored and used as an inspiration for this project!

Project 3: Seasons on Stage!
Students will create a theatrical representation of the four season cycle demonstrating their understanding of what causes the four seasons. Students will personify the Sun, Earth and the characteristics of each season. They will apply their knowledge by writing a script that explains and models how the earth’s tilt and revolution affects the change in seasons.

Standards

Curriculum Standards

S4E2 Students will model the position and motion of the earth in the solar system.

  1. Explain the day/night cycle of Earth using a model.
  2. Explain the sequence of the phases of the moon.
  3. Demonstrate the revolution of the earth around the earth’s tilt to explain seasonal changes.

ELAGSE4RL5 Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter) and drama (e.g., casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions) when writing or speaking about a text.

ELAGSE4RI3 Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

ELAGSE4RI4 Determine the meaning of general academic language and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.

MGSE4.MD.2 Use the four operations to solve word problems involving distances, intervals of time, liquid volumes, masses of objects, and money, including problems involving simple fractions or decimals, and problems that require expressing measurements given in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Represent measurement quantities using diagrams such as number line diagrams that feature a measurement scale.

MGSE4.OA.5 Generate a number or shape pattern that follows a given rule. Identify apparent features of the pattern that were not explicit in the rule itself. Explain informally why the pattern will continue to develop in this way.

Arts Standards

D4CR1 Demonstrates and understanding of creative and choreographic principles, processes, and structures.

D5FD.3 Recognizes the anatomical and kinesiology concepts in movement.

  1. Understands, explores, and sequences clear movements of body parts, body halves, and the body in planes in space.

D5FD.4 Understands and applies music concepts to dance.

D5CR.2 Demonstrates an understanding dance as a way to communicate meaning.

M4GM.10 Moving, alone and with others, to a varied repertoire of music.

  1. Perform choreographed and non-choreographed movements.

TAES4.7 Integrating various art forms other content areas, and life experiences to create theater.

VA4MC1 Engages in the creative process to generate and visualize ideas.

VA4PR.1 Creates artworks based on personal experience and selective themes.

VA4PR.3 Understands and applies media, techniques, and processes of three-dimensional works of art (ceramics, sculpture, crafts, and mixed-media) using tools and materials in a safe and appropriate manner to develop skills.

Summative Assessment Tools

  • Pre/Post Test
  • Documenting Phases of the Moon Rubric
  • Stabile Model of Earth, Sun and Moon Rubric
  • Seasons on Stage Rubric

Appendix (See Addition Resources)

  • Pre/Post Test

Credits

U.S. Department of Education
Arts in Education--Model Development and Dissemination Grants Program
Cherokee County (GA) School District and ArtsNow, Inc.
Ideas contributed and edited by:
Pam Lehman, Lisa McEachern, Cheryl McFarland, Shannon Green, Susie Spear Purcell, Jessica Espinoza

Documenting Phases of the Moon

Science and Visual Arts

Description

In this project, students will design a field journal illustrating the eight phases of the moon to demonstrate understanding of the phases and cycles of the moon over time.

Learning Targets

“I Can…”

  • Illustrate the phases of the moon for one month
  • Describe how the phases of the moon change over the duration of one month

Essential Questions

  • How do phases of the moon depend on relative positions of the sun, moon and earth?
  • How can drawing be used to better understand the phases of the moon?

Curriculum Standards

S4E2 Students will model the position and motion of the earth in the solar system and will explain the role of relative position and motion in determining sequence of the phases of the moon.

  1. Explain the sequence of the phases of the moon.

Arts Standards

VA4MC1 Engages in the creative process to generate and visualize ideas.

VA4PR.1 Creates artworks based on personal experience and selective themes.

Content Vocabulary

  • Phase
  • Cycle
  • Orbit
  • Waxing
  • Waning
  • Gravity
  • Tides
  • Full moon
  • Quarter moon
  • Crescent
  • Illuminate
  • Fractions
  • Data collection

Arts Vocabulary

  • Line: An element of art which refers to the continuous mark made on some surface by a moving point. It may be two dimensional, like a pencil mark on a paper or it may be three dimensional (wire) or implied (the edge of a shape or form) often it is a outline, contour or silhouette.
  • Shape: An enclosed space defined by other elements of art. (Shapes may take on the appearance 2 or 3 objects).
  • Form: An element of art that is three-dimensional and encloses volume (cubes, spheres, and cylinders are examples of various forms).
  • Sphere: A round solid figure, or its surface, with every point on its surface equidistant from its center.
  • Value: This describes the lightness or darkness of a color. Value is needed to express volume.
  • Drawing: A picture or diagram made with a pencil, pen, or crayon rather than paint, especially one drawn in monochrome.
  • Illustration: A picture illustrating a book, newspaper, etc.
  • Bookbinding: The process of physically assembling a book from an ordered stack of paper sheets that are folded together into sections or sometimes left as a stack of individual sheets. The stack is then bound together along one edge by either sewing with thread through the folds or by a layer of flexible adhesive.

Technology Integration

Formative Assessment

  • Assess the calendar weekly using a sentence frame: “This week I observed…”

Summative Assessment

  • Pre/Post-Test (before and after unit)
  • Documenting Phases of the Moon Rubric (See Downloads)

Materials

  • Calendar for data collection; Art pencils H, 2b, 4b, 6b; 1 rubberband per student; hole punch; five pieces of copy paper per student; 1 sheet of cardstock per student; 1 pencil or bamboo skewer per student

Activating Strategy (5-10 min)

Share PBS moon phase video with class https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ5vty8f9Xc. Introduce Sketching pencils. Allow students to experiment with the 4 different pencils. Discuss how the pencils are different. Create a value scale sketch demonstrating the value range of the 4 pencils.

  • Each student will be given a calendar to record moon phase observations for one month.
  • Each student will create a field journal.
  • They will use this journal and their recordings on their calendar to create illustrations depicting the phases of the moon, adding a written description.

Main Activity

PROCESS: In this project each student will be given a calendar to record moon phase observations for one month. Each student will create a field journal. They will use this journal and their recordings on their calendar to create illustrations depicting the phases of the moon, adding a written description.

Part 1:

  • Distribute the moon phase calendar and discuss the process of data collection over the course of a month.

Part 2:

  • Create a field journal by introducing this simple book binding technique. (Books may be pre assembled due to time constraints if necessary.)
  • Materials Needed: 8 ½ x 11 copy paper (4 sheets), 8 ½ x 11 cardstock (1 piece), rubber band, Pencil or bamboo skewer
  • Tools: scissors, hole punch
  • Fold copy paper and cardstock in half horizontally.
  • Stack your folded paper, sandwiching the text paper in between the cardstock creating a book.
  • Punch two holes along the spine of the book – approximately 1/2 inch from the spine edge and 1 inch from the top and bottom (this can vary but making the holes too close to the edges puts them at risk to rip out)
  • Thread the rubber band through the holes and capture the pencil or skewer – this will hold the cover and pages together.
  • Now you have created a field journal!

Part 3:

  • Facilitate a whole group discussion sharing the completed data on the calendars. Highlight the eight phases of the moon and explain the process of illustrating the field journal using the 4 sketching pencils. Explain the difference between the quick sketches collected on the calendars and the illustrations. Explain the difference between a circle (shape) and a sphere (form).

Part 4:

  • Allow students to complete their field journals illustrating the 8 phases of the moon using their knowledge of form and value along with data collected from the direct observations recorded on their calendars.

Reflection Questions

  • How did you use your knowledge of form and value along with data collected from the direct observations to complete the illustrations in your field journal?
  • How do the phases of the moon correlate with the relative position and motion of the earth in the solar system?

Differentiation

Accelerated:

  • These students could research how the moon would look in the different hemispheres (northern vs. southern) and could sketch the moon as it would look in the southern hemisphere.

These students could also compose a musical selection using found sounds that represent the phases of the moon. The sound’s pitch should reflect the size of the moon – such as a full moon would be represented by a deep low sound (like a tuba or bass drum) and a new moon should be represented by a high pitched sound (like a piccolo). Remedial/EL Students:

  • Assist students with vocabulary and sketching by conferencing often throughout the project.

Appendix (See Downloads)

  • Documenting Phases of the Moon Rubric

Credits

Making a Stabile of the Moon, Sun & Earth

Mathematics, Science, and Visual Arts

Description

In this project, students will design and build a stabile model demonstrating the movement of the Moon, Sun and Earth. The Stabile design was first used by artist Alexander Calder. (He invented the mobile and the stabile). His artwork will be explored and used as an inspiration for this project!

Learning Targets

“I Can…”

  • Design and construct a stabile model of the Sun, Moon and Earth
  • Explain the day and night cycle of the earth using the stabile model
  • Write a detailed description of the day to night cycle

Essential Questions

  • How can a stabile model the relationship between Earth and its moon?
  • What is the cyclical process that results in day and night?

Curriculum Standards

S4E2a Explain the day/night cycle of Earth using a model.

  1. Explain the sequence of the phases of the moon.
  2. Demonstrate the revolution of the earth around the earth’s tilt to explain seasonal changes.
  3. Demonstrate the relative size and order from the sun of the planets in the solar system.

ELAGSE4RI3 Explain events, procedures, ideas or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

MGSE4.MD.2 Use the four operations to solve word problems involving distances, intervals of time, liquid volumes, masses of objects, and money, including problems involving simple fractions or decimals, and problems that require expressing measurements given in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Represent measurement quantities using diagrams such as number line diagrams that feature a measurement scale.

Arts Standards

VA4PR.3 Understands and applies media, techniques, and processes of three-dimensional works of art (ceramics, sculpture, crafts, and mixed-media) using tools and materials in a safe and appropriate manner to develop skills.

Content Vocabulary

  • Planet
  • Solar system
  • Crater
  • Axis
  • Rotation
  • Orbit
  • Revolution
  • Satellite
  • Tide
  • Phase
  • Telescope
  • Astronaut
  • Cycle
  • Proportion
  • Scale
  • Rates of change
  • Orientation
  • Scale Model
  • Informational text
  • Topic sentence
  • Main idea
  • Key details
  • Support
  • Site example
  • Summary
  • Cause/effect

Arts Vocabulary

  • Stabile: a freestanding abstract sculpture or structure, typically of wire or sheet metal, in the style of a mobile but rigid and stationary
  • Sculpture in the round: a three-dimensional art piece that is freestanding and is meant to be viewed from all sides
  • Balance: refers to the ways in which the elements of visual art (lines, shapes, colors, textures, etc.) of a piece are arranged
  • Aluminum armature wire: heavy, dark aluminium wire which is stiff, but can be bent and twisted into shape without much difficulty
  • Primary colors: any of a group of colors from which all other colors can be obtained by mixing. Primary colors consist of red, yellow, and blue
  • Color mixing: mixing together a number of colors to create new colors or shades
  • Shade/tint: the darkness or coolness of a color

Technology Integration

Formative Assessment

  • Monitoring progress on designing and constructing the stabile
  • Assess the calendar weekly using a sentence frame: “This week I observed…”

Summative Assessment

  • Pre/Post-Test (beginning and end of unit)
  • Stabile model will be assessed based on completion and the student’s ability to write a detailed explanation of day and night cycle using the rubric.

Materials

  • 12 gauge armature wire, 3 sizes of Styrofoam balls, foam brushes, Tempera paint (primary colors and black and white), matchbox car

Activating Strategy (5-10 min)

Introduce the work of Alexander Calder using this site: http://the189.com/sculpture/mobiles-stabiles-and-sculptur

Teacher can show an example of a completed Stabile using this site: https://www.brainpop.com/science/space/moon/

Main Activity

PROCESS: In this project each student will be given a calendar to record moon phase observations for one month. Each student will create a field journal. They will use this journal and their recordings on their calendar to create illustrations depicting the phases of the moon, adding a written description.

Part 1:

  • Facilitate a whole group discussion of how day and night happen.
  • Discuss the relationship between the Earth, Moon and Sun including relative proportion, size and distance.
  • Discuss scale models and use a matchbox car as an example because it is 1/64 the size of the real car it represents (real world example). Explain that this is why the 3 Styrofoam balls need to be different sizes. Ask which ball would represent each element.
  • Discuss the process of creating a model out of armature wire and styrofoam balls.
  • Discuss the role of color in the sculpture and review color mixing.

Part 2:

  • Students will build the three dimensional stabile of the Earth, Moon and Sun using wire, paint and Styrofoam balls.
  • Determine which ball will represent each element.
  • Paint each ball to represent the Sun, Moon and Earth making thoughtful color choices and allow to fully dry.
  • Build the structure using the armature wire adding the Styrofoam balls to represent the relationship between the elements.

Part 3:

  • Students will complete informational writing piece answering the following question: Should the Sun cease to exist, what is your predicted outcome for the Earth and the Moon?

Reflection Questions

  • How did this project help you understand the relationship between Earth and the Moon?
  • What was most challenging about creating your stabile?
  • If you could do this project again, what would you do differently?
  • Does your writing demonstrate understanding of the day/night cycle? (Conduct a peer review of each other’s writing before asking this question.)

Differentiation

Accelerated:

  • These students could create a virtual stabile for the Earth, Sun, Moon and the eight phases of the moon. Students can use Prezi to create the virtual model. With each segment students must write an explanation of each process. Students will then present their Prezi’s in class. A three-point rubric will be used to assess the presentation.
  • These students could write a script that could be used by a tour guide of an exhibit that demonstrates the day and night cycle caused by the revolution of the Earth around the sun. The script should include statements referencing the stabile that was created for class addressing the standards.
  • These students could write a song that describes the movement of the Moon, Sun, and Earth. The pitch of the music could change relative to the size of the object (for example – the Sun is the largest, so it would be represented by the lowest pitch since bigger instruments make lower sounds).
  • These students could research how the days would be different on different planets in the solar system (longer/shorter) and write an informational essay to compare and contrast the day/night cycle of Earth vs. another planet.

Remedial/EL Students:

  • These students will create a stabile using the provided materials. However, with teacher assistance, students will work in a group to complete a Circle Map discussing Rotation.

Additional Resources

Appendix (See Downloads)

  • Making a Stabile of the Moon, Sun and Earth Rubric

Credits

Seasons on Stage!

Mathematics, Science, English Language Arts, Music, and Dance

Description

Students will create a theatrical representation of the four season cycle demonstrating their understanding of what causes the four seasons. Students will personify the Sun, Earth and the characteristics of each season. They will apply their knowledge by writing a script that explains and models how the earth’s tilt and revolution affects the change in seasons.

Learning Targets

“I Can…”

  • Create a script that models how the tilt and rotation of Earth affect our seasonal changes
  • Become a character in a play about seasons
  • Create dialogue that personifies the Earth, Sun, and four seasons
  • Describe how the rotation and tilt of the earth affect seasons

Essential Questions

  • How can we use theatre to depict the Earth’s tilt and rotation and how they impact seasonal changes?
  • What is the relative effect of the Earth’s gravitational pull and the Sun’s virtual position in regards to our seasonal changes?

Curriculum Standards

S4E2. Students will model the position and motion of the earth in the solar system.

  1. Demonstrate the revolution of the earth around the sun and the earth’s tilt to explain the seasonal changes.

ELAGSE4RL5 Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter) and drama (e.g., casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions) when writing or speaking about a text.

ELAGSE4RI3 Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

ELAGSE4RI4 Determine the meaning of general academic language and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.

MGSE4.OA.5 Generate a number or shape pattern that follows a given rule. Identify apparent features of the pattern that were not explicit in the rule itself. Explain informally why the pattern will continue to develop in this way.

Arts Standards

D5FD.3 Recognizes the anatomical and kinesiology concepts in movement.

  1. Understands, explores, and sequences clear movements of body parts, body halves, and the body in planes in space.

D5FD.4 Understands and applies music concepts to dance.

D5CR.2 Demonstrates an understanding dance as a way to communicate meaning.

M4GM.10 Moving, alone and with others, to a varied repertoire of music.

  1. Perform choreographed and non-choreographed movements.

Content Vocabulary

  • Cycle
  • motion orbit
  • Rotate
  • Revolve
  • Position
  • Traits
  • Temperature
  • Order
  • Rates of change
  • Angle (axis angle)
  • Properties (of a season)
  • Orientation
  • Informational text
  • Topic sentence
  • Main idea
  • Key details
  • Summary
  • Cause/effect

Arts Vocabulary

  • Locomotor: movement that travels through space; examples of locomotor movements: walk, skip, jog, leap, slide, run, hop, gallop, glide
  • Nonlocomotor: stationary movement that does not travel through space; examples of non-locomotor movements: float, melt, push, reach, kick, pull, bend, sink, turn, wiggle, rise, swing, burst, twist, flick, dab, slash, punch
  • Soundscaping: sound effects
  • Tempo: the speed of the beat
  • Dynamics: refers to loud and soft sounds; volume
  • Pianissimo: very quiet
  • Piano: quiet
  • Mezzo piano: medium quiet
  • Mezzo forte: medium loud
  • Forte: loud
  • Fortissimo: very loud
  • Crescendo: gradually get louder
  • Decrescendo: gradually get quieter
  • Largo: very slow and broad
  • Adagio: slowly
  • Andante: walking speed
  • Moderato: medium speed
  • Adagio: fast
  • Presto: very fast
  • Vivace: very, very fast
  • Ritardando: gradually slow down

Technology Integration

  • Consider encouraging students to select a playlist for underscoring their dramatization. Direct them to consider how the music may change for each season. The process of selecting a playlist can be done using various music apps.

Formative Assessment

  • Monitor students working in groups
  • Feedback during the rehearsal process
  • Student questioning

Summative Assessment

  • Seasons Rubric (see Downloads)

Activating Strategy (5-10 min)

  • Facilitate a class discussion about how the seasons change. Fold a piece of paper in fours and create a storyboard that shows how where we live on Earth is impacted in each season based on our proximity to the Sun.

Main Activity

Part 1: Warm-up Our Bodies and Voices

  • Review the elements of drama, (body language, facial expression, locomotor and non-locomotor movement) and how to use sound for effect (called “soundscaping”). Groups will be given time to experiment these expressions. The teacher can give groups topic ideas for their practice:
    • Example 1: Happiness at a home run hit during a ballgame. How is this expressed by each character in the event: the batter, the people in the stands, the coach?
    • Example 2: Your dog ate your favorite pair of sneakers. Now you have no shoes to go outside and play. How would you show me with your body that you are angry or frustrated?
  • Students work in groups experimenting with how to use drama to explain the cause/effect relationship of the earth rotating around Sun. Guide a discussion with the class so that the students understand that the Sun would use non-locomotor movement, the Earth would use locomotor motion to rotate and revolve around the sun. Students need to consider how they might represent the Earth’s tilt on its axis. Other features they might include characters representing the weather, or characters choosing particular clothing to express the weather during these seasons.

Part 2: Creating a Script

  • Place students in small groups of 3-5 students.
  • Students work together to create a script for their Season Play. The play should consist of various characters: Sun, Earth, a person/place on Earth, and seasonal changes (snow, wind, etc.)
  • Using the rubric as guidance, students will theatrically represent the seasons conceptually in this dramatization by using the literary device personification.

Part 3: Performing the Season Play

  • After each presentation, the class will discuss how the presentation represented how seasons change. They may also include peer feedback, such as adding more specific movement, facial expressions, sounds, etc., to help the presentation be more effective.

Reflection Questions

  • What might you say about your character’s experience through the four seasons? (Include where you are in position to the sun, and how you feel.)
  • What adjectives might you use when you are personifying the Earth during a particular season?
  • What colors/types of music would help with the personification?

Differentiation

Accelerated:

  • These students could write a compare/contrast paragraph about how the seasons would be different and the same in the southern hemisphere.

Remedial/EL Students:

  • Consider doing the playwriting with a guided small group to help with connecting the science concept to the storytelling of the dramatization.

Additional Resources

Appendix (See Downloads)

  • Seasons Rubric

Credits

Grade 4: Out of This World!

Additional Resources

Websites

Virtual Fieldtrips

  • www.eyes.nasa.gov
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