Classroom Stories: Teaching in the Trailer, or "This Will Have Been a Good Time"
Classroom Stories: Classroom Calculators

Classroom Stories: Teaching the Seasons in Inadequate Classroom Space

By Stacy Palen

Last week, we continued our struggle with the lack of AV equipment in our temporary teaching space. In order to teach the seasons in this space, I rewrote an old activity that used an overhead projector and a piece of cardboard with a hole cut out to help students understand why the angle of incidence matters.

Not having an overhead projector or cardboard handy, it occurred to me to have the students use their cell phone flashlights and the hole punched in their Learning Astronomy by Doing Astronomy workbook pages to accomplish the same purpose.

I always feel chuffed when I think of some new way to solve the problem!  

I very much liked the way students interacted with this activity.

In Part A, they have to assemble some of their own real-life knowledge about seasons on Earth. In Part B, they have to hold the WRONG idea in their head as if it were true, which is especially challenging! In Part C, they identify and explain the correct explanation. In the final part, they apply their understanding to seasons on Uranus and test their ability to extend their knowledge to a new situation.

It took most students about 25 minutes to do this activity.

When I teach it again, I’ll probably modify some of the language in Part B to make it even more clear that I expect them to write down things that they know are wrong.

This activity may eventually make its way into Learning Astronomy by Doing Astronomy because I’ve now figured out how to do it with no extra equipment!

You can access the activity by clicking here!

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