Look! Up in the Sky!

a moon

The solar system as seen from Earth

An astronomy unit for middle or high school
by Henri Picciotto

When I taught elementary school in the 1970's, one of my favorite subjects was astronomy. I developed an instructional unit based on student observation of the actual sky, plus some hands-on models and experiments.

Hoping to make this available to other teachers, I wrote a draft of the unit, but never managed to find a publisher for it. Because it was created on an antediluvian computer, and hand-illustrated, it would be a lot of work to create a modern-looking version of this curriculum. So I offer it to you in draft form, free of charge.

It is an illustrated teacher's manual, with reproducible pages for the students. It should work in grades 4 and up to provide a low-tech introduction to our cosmic neighborhood. It can be used on its own or as a foundation and a complement for explorations with telescopes and/or computer software. There are 18 lessons, spread over six weeks. Students observe the sky throughout. Using readily available materials, they build measuring devices early on, and models later.

You may download any or all of it for your non-commercial use.

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