K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Narrow your search

Resources tagged with astronomy are also tagged with these keywords. Select one to narrow your search or to find interdisciplinary resources.

Benjamin Banneker
In The Walking Classroom, page 10
In this lesson for fifth grade language arts and science, students learn about famous inventor, scientist, astronomer, and writer, Benjamin Banneker.
Format: lesson plan
The Earth and Sun: Investigations for the third grade
In this set of lessons for a third-grade curriculum unit on the Earth and Sun, students progress from observing the Sun's path through the daytime sky to understanding that the Sun's apparent motion is actually a result of Earth's rotation about an axis.
Format: lesson plan (multiple pages)
The Earth rotates through days
The students will be a part of a model showing how the Earth's rotation creates what we see as a sunrise and sunset every twenty-four hours.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–4 Science)
By Christine Shatto.
Galileo Galilei
In The Walking Classroom, page 9
In this lesson for fifth grade language arts, students learn about Galileo Galilei's life and work.
Format: lesson plan
Getting an angle on light
Students will discover that the angle of the sun can mark time and is responsible for the color we see in the sky. Students will also understand that light can be reflected and refracted.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3 Mathematics and Science)
By Janet Jones.
History of astronomy scavenger hunt
A unit on astronomy inevitably and rightfully begins with a look at the history of astronomy. This activity provides students with an opportunity to learn the basic facts of the history of astronomy by using the internet.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 Science and Social Studies)
By Mark Clinkscales and Carrie Palmer.
International Space Station scenario
In CareerStart lessons: Grade six, page 3.6
In this lesson for grade 6, students will learn about the International Space Station and will explore the many careers associated with it.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6 Guidance and Science)
By April Galloway and Christine Scott.
Light and shadows: The Sun moves in the sky
In The Earth and Sun: Investigations for the third grade, page 4
In this lesson, students will record their observations of the Sun's path through the daytime sky. They will use landmarks as a basis for their recordings and to help make predictions about the Sun's changing positions.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3 Science)
By Ronen Plesser and John Heffernan.
NASA spin-offs
In CareerStart lessons: Grade six, page 3.7
NASA spin-offs are technologies and processes that were created by or for NASA but have been applied to everyday life. In this lesson for grade 6, students learn about NASA spin-offs and how they relate to various careers.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6 Guidance)
By April Galloway and Christine Scott.
Phases of the moon
Young children may have the idea that the moon actually changes shape. This lesson explains that this apparent change is a result of the moon's revolution around the earth.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–4 Science)
By Jacquelyn Arthur.
Planets' relative gravity spreadsheet
The students use online resources to find information about the eight planets in our solar system. Then, using the relative gravity of each planet, they will create a spreadsheet to calculate what the weight of an average man and woman (possibly their own weight or the weight of other objects) would be on each of the planets.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6 Mathematics and Science)
By Susan Blevins.
The problem with parallax
Students will increase their understanding of astronomical measurements by using parallax to measure distances on their school campus. They will also gain an appreciation of the difficulties with such measurements by statistically analyzing the class' results.
Format: lesson plan (grade 7 and 9–12 Mathematics and Science)
By Mark Clinkscales and Carrie Palmer.
The spinning Earth: Spinning into darkness and light
In The Earth and Sun: Investigations for the third grade, page 10
Students will manipulate a model of Earth to study how we experience the fact that Earth spins about its axis from west to east, completing a rotation once a day. They will understand that this causes celestial objects, as viewed by observers on Earth, to appear to be moving around Earth from east to west.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–4 Science)
By Ronen Plesser and John Heffernan.
The spinning Earth: Your world is tilted
In The Earth and Sun: Investigations for the third grade, page 11
In this lesson, students will learn that Earth's axis is not perpendicular to the Sun. They will investigate the effects the tilt in the axis has on the length of days and nights — as well as on the climate — at various latitudes in the two hemispheres.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3 Science)
By Ronen Plesser and John Heffernan.
Time - Light and shadow (pre-visit)
Students examine the interplay of the earth and the sun by studying shadows. Students construct a sun clock and record shadows several times during a school day in order to use the earth and the sun to measure time.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3 Mathematics and Science)
By Denise Young.
Tour of the solar system
Students, in groups, will research, design, and create a PowerPoint presentation on the planets. The class will then take a “tour of the solar system.”
Format: lesson plan (grade 6 Science)
By Jennifer Mott.
A walk through the solar system
A practice in scientific notation, measurement, and scale distances, this lesson plan integrates mathematics into the science curriculum.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6 and 8 Mathematics and Science)
By RhondaS Dausman.
The Walking Classroom
Lesson plans and podcasts aligned to the fifth grade curriculum.
Format: lesson plan (multiple pages)

Resources on the web

Ancient Observatories
Journey into Chaco Canyon, where ancient people built monuments to the cosmos and find out about archaeoastronomy using maps, films, and animations. (Learn more)
Format: website/lesson plan
Provided by: Exploratorium
ASPIRE: Astrophysics Science Project Integrating Research and Education
Interactive science labs and lessons for teachers and students. (Learn more)
Format: website/lesson plan
Provided by: University of Utah