Night and Day (AIMS)

Contributor
Activities Integrating Math and Science (AIMS)
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Activity , Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

Students graph the local periods of sunlight and darkness in a 24-hour day using gathered sunrise and sunset times.  They make comparisons between periods of sunlight and darkness on different days of the year.  The data is represented through bar graphs which are then used to translate the information in to circle graphs showing the amount of time day and night take up in each 24-hour period.  Student worksheets included. Example of how to use a physical model with a globe and light to demonstrate Earth’s rotation as the cause for day and night included. 

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Middle School
  • Grade 5
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Available for purchase - The right to view, keep, and/or download material upon payment of a one-time fee.

Performance Expectations

5-ESS1-2 Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky.

Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns could include the position and motion of Earth with respect to the sun and selected stars that are visible only in particular months.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include causes of seasons.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This resource uses a bar graph that can be translated on a circle graph as representations of sunlight and darkness data over a 24-hour period. There are two student pages for data collection and graphing. One allows for data to be collected and graphed for one day and the other allows for data collection over four different days.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This resource explicitly addresses data representation of sunlight and darkness over a 24-hour period. It also allows for that representation over a longer period of time revealing patterns over time.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This resource explicitly addresses the pattern of day and night caused by Earth’s rotation. As students collect and represent data over different days throughout the year, the pattern of the changing amount of sunlight seasonally is revealed.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The lesson instructs teachers to use a physical model with a globe and light to demonstrate Earth’s rotation as the cause for day and night. This is the opening activity of the lesson. The teacher might want to do the data collection and graphing prior to introducing the model demonstrating the causal effect of Earth’s rotation.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The resource provides a set of questions for teachers to use to facilitate discussion. One of the questions asks students to predict what patterns would be expected over a five year period. Another asks students how the length of daylight is changing. To be more explicit in using the crosscutting concept, the teacher should ask students to identify the patterns observed in the data when answering this question.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Students use all three dimensions in this activity to make sense of Earth’s rotation as a cause for the daily pattern of sunlight and darkness commonly referred to as day and night. They represent the data in graphs and identify the patterns both daily and over time. The teacher uses a physical model of a globe and light to demonstrate Earth’s rotation as the cause for day and night (phenomenon) as the first part of the activity. To more align with phenomena driven instruction, the questions suggested in this section could be used at the beginning of the lesson to identify student ideas without using the model as an explanation at this time. “How long is a day?” “How do you think the length of day and night compares today?” After students represent sunlight and darkness data on the graphs, the model could be used as an explanation of Earth’s rotation as the cause.

  • Instructional Supports: The front matter of the activity shares researched responses of 9-10 year old students when asked to explain the occurrence of day and night. When conducting the demonstration using the model with the globe and light, the teacher is instructed to place a sticky note on the globe denoting the class’s home location. Another option to the demonstration would be to give groups of students flashlights and foam balls and ask them to model day and night. This would make student thinking visible. The data collected is local, connecting students to a phenomenon that is observed daily. There are extension ideas and literature connections provided, but no guidance for students struggling with the concepts. It is suggested that students have multiple opportunities to interact with models, drawings and other activities to explore the relationship of the sun to the Earth and the cause of day and night. Other published reviews of activities and lessons on this topic are Kinesthetic Astronomy, Journey North - What Makes Day and Night, Journey North - Photoperiod and Next time You See a Sunset.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This activity is not explicit about monitoring student progress. The teacher can use the student work and discussion to evaluate how students are progressing towards developing an explanation of the phenomenon.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This activity does not have any interactive technological components.