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How Can We Predict When The Sky Will Be Dark?

How Can We Predict When The Sky Will Be Dark?

How Can We Predict When the Sky Will Be Dark? is part of Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, a new curriculum series by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. It is aligned to a group of grade 1 standards. It has a focus on earth and space science with a secondary focus on physical science. In this module, students:

  • Analyze and interpret observations of the sky to identify when the Sun, Moon, and stars are visible and the Sun and Moon’s daily pattern of motion in the sky.
  • Use observations to explain that we see objects when light shines on them or if they give off their own light.
  • Compare two models of the Moon to identify which model better represents the observed patterns of the real Moon.
  • Plan and carry out an investigation to identify the pattern of daylight throughout the year.
  • Carry out an investigation to identify the times of the year that it will be dark when kids walk to or from school.
  • Explain how different light sources will allow objects to be seen when kids walk to school in the dark.

Below are digital resources that support teaching of this module.

Module Overview

Blackline masters for the module
Download PDF
This file contains the blackline masters for the module, including notebook sheets and activity sheets.

Lesson 1: Oksana, Issa, and Layla

Child in Bed
Download PDF
This file shows a photo of a girl in bed when the sky appears to be dark and a photo of a girl in bed with the sky appears to be bright.

Ada Asks Introduction
Download Video
This video introduces the reading that students use in the first activity.

Ukraine, Cameroon, and Lebanon Map
Download PDF
This world map shows the locations of Ukraine, Cameroon, and Lebanon.

Moonrise and Moonset
www.timeanddate.com/moon/
This website provides the moonrise and moonset times for a location provided by the user.

Lesson 4: Mysterious Moon

Shapes of the Moon
Download PDF
This file shows photos of a full moon, quarter moon, and crescent moon.

Lesson 5: Sunlight on the Mall

Aerial View of the National Mall
Download PDF
This file shows an aerial view of the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Sunlight on the National Mall
https://ssec.si.edu/sunlight-national-mall
This simulation shows 360-degree photos taken on the National Mall at five different times of one day in the winter and five different times of one day in the spring. For Lesson 5, use the winter photos. For the Lesson 8 extension, use the spring photos. Sunlight on the National Mall is available as a website for computers. Download the application for use on tablets or mobile devices.

Young Sunflower
Download Video
This time-lapsed video shows a young sunflower tracking the Sun in the day and turning to face east in the night. 

Lesson 6: Moon Motion

Full Moon Motion
Download Video
This video shows a model of the Moon and Sun’s motion over a 48-hour period during the full moon part of the Moon’s cycle.

Quarter Moon Motion
Download Video
This video shows a model of the Moon and Sun’s motion over a 48-hour period during the quarter moon part of the Moon’s cycle.

Lesson 7: Dining in Daylight or Darkness

Sunrise and Sunset
https://sunrise-sunset.org
This website provides the sunrise and sunset times for a location provided by the user.

Daylight Patterns
Download PDF
This file shows an investigation chart made with symbols that do not match and an investigation chart made with symbols that match.

Sunrise and Sunset Picture
Download PDF
This file shows a picture of sunrise.

Lesson 8: Pattern of Daylight

Spring Sun Sheet
Download PDF
This file shows an illustration of the National Mall.

Lesson 9: Oksana’s Walk to School Part 1

Walk to School
Download PDF
This file shows photos of students walking to school at two different times of the year.

Ada Asks Science Challenge
Download Video
This video introduces the science challenge.

Lesson 10: Oksana’s Walk to School Part 2

Walk to School with Flashlights
Download Video
This video shows students walking to school in the dark while carrying flashlights.

Walk to School with Glow Sticks
Download Video
This video shows students walking to school in the dark while carrying glow sticks.

Walk to School Under Street Lights
Download Video
This video shows students walking to school in the dark under a street light.