Grade 8Science

Focus: In this unit, students investigate the phenomenon of the sky, the stars, and Earth as a planet in our solar system. The subtitle of this unit is How we connect to the patterns we see in the sky and space? Phenomena such as the apparent movement of the Sun across the sky, the rise and fall of the Moon with its changing phases, and planets that move in the sky are all patterns that students have some experience with. How have other cultures responded to the patterns in the past? Can we predict the movement of the Sun, or the phases of the Moon, and if so how can we understand the bases for these patterns? This unit allows students to spend time working with classmates to analyze the shared experience, formulate new questions, and developing new strategies for answering them. Students explore concepts that include the following:

  • How can we explain the Sun’s path change over time?
  • Why do we see the shape of the moon change?
  • What does a lunar eclipse look like and how can we explain it?
  • Why do the Moon and Sun appear to change color near the horizon?
  • How does light interact with matter in the atmosphere?
  • How did the solar system get to be the way it is today?

As students move through their day-to-day activities, they will also read Core Knowledge literacy selections. These include factual articles, history of the sciences, art and literature, spotting bad science in the media and advertisements, graphics comprehension, research-type articles, reliability of sources, and other areas of science literacy.

Lesson Numbers:

  • Teacher Guide: 17 Lessons
  • Student Reader: 4 Collections

Lesson time:

  • Lessons can be completed in one or more class periods.
  • A Pacing Guide, found in Online Resources, offers the suggestion that the entire unit should take about 31 days if class is held each day.
  • A complete list of materials needed to complete the unit is also provided in the Online Resources.
  • The Core Knowledge Student Reader includes on reading collection per week for every week of the unit. A week’s reading collection relates to the lessons completed in the previous week.
    • The reading is assigned at the beginning of the week with the accompanying writing exercise due at the end of the week.
    • The reading and writing exercises are designed to be completed by students independently with brief, supporting, teacher-facilitated discussions at the beginning, midpoint, and end of the week.

Additional Search Terms for the Student Reader:

• science literacy • pattern • telescope • refracting telescope • reflecting telescope • orbit • celestial • artificial satellite • orbit • spectrum • gravitational force • electromagnetic radiation • nonfiction • informational text

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