Sky 1: Objects in the Sky

AAAS - ScienceNet Links
Type Category
Instructional Materials Assessment Materials
Lesson/Lesson Plan
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.



In this lesson, students learn to observe and describe what the sky looks like at different times; to identify objects in the sky and recognize changes over time; and to look for objects that are common to the daytime and nighttime sky.

Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
  • Grade 1
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

1-ESS1-1 Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.

Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns could include that the sun and moon appear to rise in one part of the sky, move across the sky, and set; and stars other than our sun are visible at night but not during the day.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment of star patterns is limited to stars being seen at night and not during the day.

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

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This lesson has students observing and documenting observations of the daytime and nighttime sky. Suggestion is made for these observations be made regularly to identify sequences of change and to look for patterns in these changes. Learning about objects in the sky should be entirely observational and qualitative. The instructor is encouraged to get students noticing and describing what objects in the sky look like at different times. If the student lives in an urban setting use of pictures or video may enhance nighttime sky understandings.

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
The teacher should discuss sun safety when making observations in the sky. The teacher should also model how to make observations of things in the sky as this grade level is not familiar with making observations of things that are far away. For example, students may be encouraged to document how far from the horizon line an object is located.

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

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
In this lesson students are encouraged to make individual observations of objects in the sky. They should notice each objects distinguishing features, position, movement, and if the student thinks it can be seen in the night sky. An observation student sheet is provided. Observations can be recorded as a whole class, on individual students sheets/notebooks, or stated in class discussions.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This lesson directly addresses the Core Idea. The learning can be enhanced if the student is encouraged to make predictions of the observations made over time.

Crosscutting Concepts

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

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
To fully address this Crosscutting Concept, students need to be encouraged to make observations of the night sky at home. They should also be given lots of time to discuss their observations, making comparisons between each students' observations.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The lesson aligns with the conceptual shifts of the NGSS. The science, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts work together to make sense of the phenomena.

  • Instructional Supports: This lesson provides learning opportunities for all students. It engages the student in observations and provides opportunities for the student to describe and make predictions about the observable phenomena. It does not provide suggestions for differentiated instruction. The lesson would be enhanced if a suggestion was made for the student to document his/her sky observation using technology.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This lesson elicits direct student progress measures in student discussions and completed student observation sheets. It does not give formative assessment suggestions. It does provide a summative assessment that measures the three-dimensional learning that is taking place.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: Technological activity suggestions are not provided for this lesson. In this lesson it is suggested that the class use a tablet or camera to capture their observations of the day and night sky. This documentation of the phenomena would offer a strong learning experience for the student and make observations over time, days, and seasons possible at a deeper understanding. It must also be noted that there are websites that record video of the day and night sky and they too could be used to help develop ongoing observations.