Students are guided through the stages of a star's life using interactive reading, acting out skits, classroom games, and creating their own children's comics. By the end of this lesson, all of your students will be able to determine the course of a star's life knowing it's size. Like supernovas, students will explode with excitement for this lesson!
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Students will be able to explain that the evolution of a star is determined by their initial size. Stars will have shorter life spans with larger stars and longer life spans with smaller stars.
- Students will be able to identify that a small to medium size star will end as a white dwarf/black dwarf and that large stars will end as black holes or neutron stars.
- Students will be able to identify the main-sequence stage of a star as the longest lasting stage (90% of the stars life).
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
- Stars are balls of luminous gas held together by gravity.
- Stars create energy via nuclear fusion.
- There are billions of stars in our universe and are different ages.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- How does the initial mass of a star determines its evolution?
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Lesson opener/attention getter: Teacher can either provide students with short flipped video lesson for homework before the lesson, or watch this short video titled "The Life Cycle of Stars" (4:58, uploaded by YouTube user Institute of Physics) and use the attached PowerPoint to quickly explain life stages of a star while students record Cornell Notes.
- Key talking points about the lesson topic:
- The evolution of a star is determined by their initial size.
- Stars will have shorter lifespans with larger stars and longer lifespans with smaller stars.
- Small to medium size star will end as a white dwarf/black dwarf.
- Large stars will end as black holes or neutron stars.
- 90% of the stars life is in the main-sequence stage.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Class will complete the "Life Cycle of Stars Reading" and fill in the blanks together. Teachers can modify this activity by either making this a paired activity or 3-4 person group work.
- Students will read aloud the "Lives of Stars" skit. Actors can switch after 3rd act for increased student engagement. Props (e.g., large blue glasses for Apollo, cane and gray wig for Sol), language accents (e.g., old man accent for Sol character, news-reporter voice/tone) and microphones (fake or real) will also create increased excitement in this activity. Students that are not acting should have copies of the skit to follow-along, increasing student cognitive engagement.
- How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment): Teacher should stop after every act of the skit and use think-pair-share strategies and/or ask questions to individual students to verify student understanding. Teacher could ask questions like, "What does mass determine for a star? What evidence from the text supports that?" Students should respond, "Mass determines everything about a star, from how bright it is to how long it lives." Teacher can have students highlight certain portions of text to verify comprehension and to cite evidence in text, such as "Highlight the portion of the text that explains the process of nuclear fusion." Students should highlight the Sol's statement on page 4. With the bright highlighter on every page, teacher can easily monitor if students can connect ideas to text if they choose the right portion to highlight.
- Matching Definitions/ Moving Around the Classroom Game: Students play a version of the Kagan Strategy "Mix-n-Match" game. Teacher can either pre-make definitions and vocabulary terms on index cards or pair students up and give them the vocabulary term to write on one card and the other partner writes the definition. Teacher can then play music. Students walk around and switch cards until music stops or teacher says "Freeze." Students must find their matching card and run to a corner, show the teacher to verify the accuracy of the match. Then, students stand on the outside of the classroom until all students in the center have found their matching card. Repeat and until the teacher wishes.
- Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Before the lesson, students may believe all stars explode and then become black holes. Students may also believe stars do not change in luminosity or temperature throughout their life. The skit, skit reflection questions, vocabulary matching game and worksheet covers these misconceptions.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
- If students have computers, phones, or tablets, teachers can have students play this Stellar Evolution Kahoot! Game individually. See the attachment for Kahoot! answers.
- How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment): Kahoot generates the class percentage of correct answers and identifies misconceptions. Teachers can identify struggling students by printing out a roster and performance data. Teacher can ask the class, "Why did you choose that answer?" (whether asking about a wrong or right answer) and teacher can explain accuracy or misconception of student thinking.
- Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Misconceptions are listed as answer choices on the Kahoot! game. If there are misconceptions, the teacher can take time to reiterate correct content and correct misconceptions.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
- Instructions for leading the closing discussion: Restate key talking points of this topic (same to the ones described at beginning of this lesson) and ask students to rate themselves on this understanding using a 1-5 system; five being comfortable enough to teach it to their parents and one being completely lost, or describe the reasoning for the key points occurrences with detail.
- How will the students show that they met the learning objectives? Students will create their own children stories or comics to explain each phase of a star's life of a certain mass. Teachers and students alike can access the project instructions and rubric attached
- Specific suggestions for conducting Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"
Feedback to Students
- Re-direct students to research material if students have inaccurate information.
- Re-direct students to the rubric if they are missing information in their projects.
- During poster creation, prompt students to be conscientious of positioning to ensure a best fit (not to too small or too large) for all star phases, including star pictures and star phase descriptions.
ACCOMMODATIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS
- Struggling students: Offer extended time for activities, reduce activity load (teacher can eliminate section three questions on Life Cycle of Stars Worksheet or eliminate the Skit Reading and Questions), pair students, provide them more fill in the blank/matching pictures.
- Gifted Students: Offer more individual practice, more time for detailed research, and have them explain each step in detail.
- Kinesthetic learners can create their own hand signals to explain the different stages of a star.
- Students can research binary star systems and blackholes and present their findings in slideshow or written report.
- Students can use the Star Spectra Phet Simulation to simulate how scientists use spectroscopy to determine star composition.
- If teacher has school Gizmo account, students can use the Star Spectra Gizmo to use absorption and emission spectra of stars to determine their chemical makeup.
Four 45-minute class period lessons
SOURCE AND ACCESS INFORMATION
Name of Author/Source: Shannon Carmody
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Orange
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.