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
Objects are measured in the sky using things like angular size and distance. Explore the celestial sphere, angles, degrees, angular distance, and size, and learn a neat trick for measuring objects in the sky.
2. Important Points on the Celestial Sphere
The imaginary celestial sphere surrounding Earth is a reference tool that allows for the locations of objects in the sky to be located. Learn about the important points on the celestial sphere, including the horizon, zenith, nadir, equator, the North and South poles, and the meridian.
3. The Cycle of the Seasons in Astronomy
Explore astronomy's cycle of the seasons to understand Earth's seasons. Examine the ecliptic and celestial equator, the vernal equinox and summer solstice, the autumnal equinox and summer solstice, and perihelion and aphelion.
4. The Horizon Coordinate System
The horizon system is used to find objects in the sky and determine their positioning. Learn more about the horizon coordinate system, the celestial horizon, altitudes and azimuth, and more on limitations.
5. The Equatorial Coordinate System
The equatorial coordinate system is a method of identifying sections of the sky using declination (angle from equator) and right ascension (angle from vernal equinox). Learn the use of this system compared to longitude and latitude on the earth's surface.
6. What is Precession?
The change in direction of Earth's axis of rotation is known as precession and it can affect the state of the planet. Learn more on recognizing the work of Hipparchus, compare revolution and rotation, and discuss the process and consequences of precession.
7. Lunar Eclipse: Definition & Types
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon darkens as it moves into the Earth's shadow and the two align with the sun. Explore the definition and types of lunar eclipses, such as partial and total lunar eclipse, and understand the significance of Earth's umbra and penumbra.
8. What Is a Solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon is between the Sun and the Earth, blocking the sunlight and casting a shadow on Earth. Learn how a solar eclipse is possible, explore partial and total solar eclipses, and discover the effects of a solar eclipse.
9. Annular Eclipse: The Changing Size of the Moon
The annular eclipse is a type of solar eclipse that involves the visibility of the sun's photosphere as a bright ring around the moon. Explore a comparison of sun and moon size, the changing size of the moon, types of solar eclipses, and why annular eclipses occur.
10. How Can We Predict An Eclipse?
Thanks to consistent lunar and solar cycles, ancient and modern astronomers have been able to predict eclipses. Learn about lunar and solar orbits, explore how we can predict an eclipse, and discover the Saros cycle.
11. Why the Sun Changes Color
The sun changes color based on our perception and the position of the sun at a given time. Explore the changing colors of the sun, wavelengths of light, and how they determine color, prisms, and the setting sun.
12. Magnetosphere: Definition & Facts
The magnetosphere is the furthest outside part of the earth's atmosphere. Explore the definition and facts about the magnetosphere and learn about the Van Allen belts, magnetopause, magnetotail, bow shock, and the aurorae.
13. How Gravity, the Moon & the Sun Influence Tides
Earth is connected through it's gravitational pull and chemical reactions from the moon and sun, which also influences the oceans. Learn more about these elements and how gravity also affects tides.
14. Tidal Friction: Effects on Earth & the Moon
The moon has a major effect on the tides of the seas on Earth because of tidal bulges that create tidal friction. Learn more about tidal friction, how the moon slows down the Earth, and the Earth's effects on lunar tides.
15. Geography of the Four Seasons
The geography of the four seasons is affected by the earth's rotation. Learn about the differences in seasons as affected by the earth's axis and rotation, and examine the earth's solstice between hemispheres.
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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