The 5th Graders are going to be “Moon Chasers” throughout the year! A worksheet will help students keep track of the phases of the moon, constellations observed in the night sky and other interesting sighting in the night sky like planets and satellites. Every 2nd week of the month during the school year students will need to find the Big Dipper during a clear night and record the formation of the constellation they observe. It will change position in the sky around the north star. We will talk about how the Big Dipper holds water in the fall (for farmers to harvest their crops) and how it pours out water in the spring to help the farmers water their seeds they plant (April showers bring May flowers). (This is a wise tale, but interesting!) We will talk about how the slaves escaping to freedom by “Following the Drinking Gourd.” The secret was in following the drinking gourd, the two end stars in the cup pointed to the North Star by making four equal steps from the top of the cups star. Those stars no matter what time of year would point to the north!
In September, students will find planets as Mr. Koppelman asks them to find the first evening stars, record phases of the moon and track the Big Dipper using their “Moon Chasers” sheet. Parents will possibly need to help their student find the Big Dipper. Next we will find the North Star. On their “Moon Chaser” sheet they will watch the changes of the moon and record their finding. On the back of their sheet please sign when they have found the Big Dipper. Students will keep a short journal entry each week of interesting night sky observations.