This unit is organized in two sections, each with suggested technology links and interdisciplinary ideas. The first section of this unit will describe the sun's formation, properties, and structure. The second section will focus on the relationship between the Earth and the sun. Topics, such as the Earth's rotation, seasons, tides, life cycle, heat, weather, and the solar effects on human health will be discussed.
Both sections have suggested scientific experiments, hands on activities, or demonstrations that can be found in Appendix C. My reason for this style of teaching is that understanding the workings of the universe is a very abstract concept for students. They have difficulty grasping concepts that they can not see or witness. In order to understand the abstract ideas of the sun and the surrounding universe, it is important to displays these in a format that the students can understand. This can be done by providing students with hands on activities so they can conceptualize what is occurring. By establishing prior knowledge before explanations begin, students can create visualizations when the theories are introduced.
Connections to mathematics will also be made throughout the unit to integrate the content areas and to provide extensions. As teachers know, there is limited time each day to include all the subjects that need to be taught. With science often taking a back seat to mathematics and literacy, integrated lessons allows teachers to fit it all in. My focus is on the integration of mathematics and science because these are the subjects that I am required to teach. Each student is an individual and has different interests and learning styles, by including mathematics and a variety of teaching methods within the unit, teachers can involve students in different ways depending on their preferences.
Internet resources are also provided throughout the unit and at the end. As technology becomes an increasingly integral part of the classroom and our culture, it is important for students to know how to access accurate information and guide their way through the internet. The web resources provided throughout the unit are for teachers to introduce to their students while teaching the correlating topic. The websites can be show to a whole class or students can individually view them in a computer lab setting. They can be used as part of the lesson or as independent research. The resources at the end of the unit are for additional research and information. Information, pictures, videos, and games found on the internet are a valuable tool to use in the classroom and build knowledge.
When discussing temperature or distance I decided to convert the information to customary measurements. I am aware that it is more common in scientific journals and texts to report temperature in Celsius or using the Kelvin scale, but students at this level are more familiar with Fahrenheit. Labeling degrees in Fahrenheit and distance in miles is easier for students to understand and conceptualize, and in turn better understand the information. As part of the integrated unit, an activity is provided on how to convert between the unit of Celsius, Fahrenheit, and Kelvin.