Earth's Place in the Universe
In this unit on Earth’s Place in the Universe, 6th grade students will delve deeply into the universe and its stars as well as our solar system and Earth’s place within it. 6th grade students will be able to develop and use a model of the Sun-Earth-Moon system in order to observe, describe, predict and explain the cyclical patterns of the lunar phases, solar and lunar eclipses, and the seasons.
The first part of this unit will focus on the universe at its stars. Students will be able to explain that the Earth and its solar system are part of the Milky Way galaxy, which is one of many galaxies. Students will be able to understand the fact that the motion of the sun, the moon and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted and explained with models. This model of the solar system can explain tides, eclipses of the sun and moon, and the motion of the planets in the sky relative to the stars. Earth’s spinning axis is fixed in direction over the short term but tilted relative to its orbit around the sun. The season are a result of that tilt and are caused by the differential intensity of sunlight on different areas of Earth across the year.
*This unit will end with the patterns of eclipses. The gravitational pull of the Sun and how it holds celestial objects in orbit, as well as causes the tides will occur after, but are not included in this document.