First Grade Sky Patterns
In this live presentation, we give an explanation of how the spinning of the Earth causes night and day, with the rotation making the Sun and all other sky objects appear to move across the sky from east to west. Once the Sun sets, we show how we can now see the stars that are always there but which the Sun outshines during the day. We have the students stand up and, using a lamp as the Sun and their bodies as the Earth, act out night and day. A few simple star patterns are shown in the nighttime sky.
Moving on to seasons, we show students how the Sun changes where it rises and sets along the horizon throughout the course of the year. The differing amounts of time that the Sun, and therefore the stars, are in the sky is explored with each of the seasons. The terms "equinox" and "solstice" are introduced to the students. After we have shown the first set of seasonal patterns for sunrise and sunset, we ask the students to start predicting where the Sun will be in each of the next seasons throughout the course of the year.