About This Chapter
Below is a sample breakdown of the Earth, Sky and Moon chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.
|Day||Topics||Key Terms and Concepts Covered|
|Monday||Measuring objects in the sky|
Important points on the celestial sphere
The cycle of seasons
|Celestial sphere, angular size, distance and diameter, arc minutes or seconds|
Horizon, zenith, nadir, north and south celestial poles, celestial equator
Vernal and autumnal equinox, summer and winter solstice, perihelion, aphelion
|Tuesday|| Geography of the four seasons|
Horizon coordinate system
Equatorial coordinate system
|Description of the seasons and how they vary in different locations, the role of the Earth's tilt|
How the horizon coordinate, or azimuth, system works, advantages and drawbacks of the horizon coordinate system
How the equatorial system of location works, declination, right ascension
|Definition of precession and why the coordinates of the stars change with time, equinoxes, rotation|
Definition, types of lunar eclipses, refraction, totality, Earth's penumbra
Definition, how solar eclipses are possible, corona, photosphere, chromosome, diamond ring effect
|Thursday|| Annular eclipse|
Changing colors of the sun
|Definition of annular eclipse and why they occur, apogee, perigee|
Methods of predicting solar and lunar eclipses, eclipse season, eclipse year, line of nodes, Saros cycle
Why the sun changes color through the day, prism, wavelength
|Definition of magnetosphere, magnetotail, magnetopause, aurorae, bow shock|
How gravity, the moon and the sun influence tides, including why tides vary with phases of the moon
Definition of tidal friction, the synchronous rotation of the moon, tidal force
1. Measuring Objects in the Sky: Angular Size & Distance
This lesson will teach you about the celestial sphere, angular distance, angular size and diameter, arc minutes, and arc seconds. You'll also learn some neat tricks on how to use your own hands to measure these.
2. Important Points on the Celestial Sphere
This lesson will discuss some important points and lines located on the celestial sphere, including the zenith, nadir, celestial equator, meridian, and north and south celestial poles.
3. The Cycle of the Seasons in Astronomy
This lesson will explain to you why the Earth has different seasons, what the equinoxes and solstices are, their names, and if the distance the Earth is from the Sun influences the seasons.
4. The Horizon Coordinate System
This lesson will describe a celestial coordinate system known as the horizon system or altazimuth system, as well as important terms such as altitude, azimuth, zenith, and angular distance.
5. The Equatorial Coordinate System
This lesson will teach you about the fundamentals of the equatorial system, including declination, right ascension, the vernal equinox, angular diameter, and celestial equator.
6. What is Precession?
You've probably heard of the term precession. But what is this really? And what significance does it have to our night sky? This lesson will explain what it is and what it causes.
7. Lunar Eclipse: Definition & Types
This lesson will teach you about the lunar eclipse. You'll learn the difference between a penumbral, partial, and total lunar eclipse, and see what totality means with respect to a total lunar eclipse.
8. What Is a Solar Eclipse?
This lesson will describe what a solar eclipse is, why it's possible, when a partial or a total one will occur, and what cool effects occur during one.
9. Annular Eclipse: The Changing Size of the Moon
This lesson will explain what an annular eclipse is and why it occurs with respect to the sizes of the Moon, the Sun, and the position of the Moon during its orbit.
10. How Can We Predict An Eclipse?
This lesson will tell you when lunar and solar eclipses are possible, what nodes have to do with it, how long eclipse seasons last, and what the Saros cycle is.
11. Why the Sun Changes Color
The Sun does not change its true color. However, the way we observe the Sun on Earth makes it appear that the sun changes color. Why this is so is outlined in this lesson.
12. Magnetosphere: Definition & Facts
In this lesson, you'll learn about how the northern lights are formed thanks to the magnetosphere and solar wind. Of course, you'll learn a lot more, including what the Van Allen belts, magnetopause, and magnetotail are.
13. How Gravity, the Moon & the Sun Influence Tides
This lesson will define tides, the tidal force, neap tide, and spring tide. It will also talk about how the sun, moon, and Earth interact to produce tidal bulges.
14. Tidal Friction: Effects on Earth & the Moon
This lesson will go over the concept of tidal friction, why it occurs, and how all of that has affected Earth's spin and day length, as well as the moon's rotation and distance from Earth.
15. Geography of the Four Seasons
This lesson will explain how the earth's axis and rotation affect seasons. In doing this, it will also highlight the concept of the summer and winter solstices, as well as how seasons vary around the globe.
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Other chapters within the Astronomy 101 Syllabus Resource & Lesson Plans course
- The History of Astronomy Lesson Plans
- How Scientists Think & Work Lesson Plans
- Matter in Astronomy Lesson Plans
- Light in Astronomy Lesson Plans
- Newton's Laws in Astronomy Lesson Plans
- Momentum & Energy Lesson Plans
- Rotational Motion & Momentum Lesson Plans
- Earth's Spheres Lesson Plans
- Climate Influences Lesson Plans
- Orbits, Gravity & Orbital Motion Lesson Plans
- The Formation & Phases of the Moon Lesson Plans
- Earth & Planet Atmospheres Lesson Plans
- The Sun & Energy Lesson Plans
- The Solar System Formation Lesson Plans
- The Solar System Characteristics Lesson Plans
- The Solar System's Smaller Objects & Satellites Lesson Plans
- Star Qualities Lesson Plans
- Star Types Lesson Plans
- The Birth & Life of Stars Lesson Plans
- Star Death & Stellar Remnants Lesson Plans
- The Milky Way Galaxy Lesson Plans
- Properties of Galaxies Lesson Plans
- Universe Theories Lesson Plans
- Life in the Universe Lesson Plans
- Celestial Time & Navigation Lesson Plans
- Relativity in Time & Space Lesson Plans
- Telescopes Lesson Plans