Wonderful Sky is a live program in which an educator uses the planetarium to guide the audience through a simulation of day and night. Children actively participate in the program by answering questions, listening to sounds, and observing the differences between the day and nighttime skies.
Wonderful Sky is recommended for PreK to 1st Grade. For more information please consult the Tennessee Curriculum standards information listed below.
For More Information
- Paper Plate Astronomy
- NASA Sun-Earth Connection for Educators
- NASA JPL Space Place (Hands-on projects for kids)
- Amazing Space (Hands-on projects for kids)
- NASA Science For Kids
- NASA Kids
- How big is the solar system?
- Build a solar system
- Scale models of the Solar System
- Touch the Sun by Noreen Grice (A NASA Braille book)
- A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky: The Story of the Stars, Planets, and Constellations--and How You Can Find Them in the Sky by Michael Driscoll and Meredith Hamilton
- Everything Kids' Astronomy Book: Blast into outer space with steller facts, integalatic trivia, and out-of-this-world puzzles (Everything Kids Series) by Kathi Wagner and Sheryl Racine
- Find the Constellations by H.A. Rey
- Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations by Jacqueline Mitton and Christina Balit
TN State Science Standards
Grade Level Expectations (GLE)
- GLE 0007.Inq.1 Observe the world of familiar objects using the senses and tools.
- GLE 0007.6.1 Know the different objects that are visible in the day and night sky.
1st GradeEmbedded Inquiry
- GLE 0107.Inq.1 Observe the world of familiar objects using the senses and tools.
- GLE 0107.6.1 Compare and describe features of the day and night sky.
- GLE 0107.6.2 Realize that the sun can only be seen during the day, while the moon can be seen at night and sometimes during the day.
- State at least two difference between a planetarium and their classroom.
- Name two objects seen in the daytime sky.
- Name two objects seen in te nighttime sky.
- Ask the students to name things they would see or hear in the daytime and at night. Have students draw daytime and nighttime pictures. Students could also find and cut out pictures in magazines of day and night, fixing them on a divided board and labeled with DAY and NIGHT.
- Demonstrate how the distance from an object makes the object appear to change in size. Select two students of approximately the same height. While they stand side by side, discuss and agree that they are about the same in height. Then have one student walk away from the class while the other student stays in front of the class so the class can easily make a comparison. Talk about how the student looks smaller as he or she moves farther away, comparing one student to the other. Does this work with all objects? Relate this concept to other familiar objects such as airplanes, birds, and the Sun and Moon.
- Play a game of Simon Says using directional (up, down, over, under, high, low) and sky object words (Moon, ground, clouds, etc.) For example, “Simon Says everyone look up,” or “Simon Says everyone wave at the clouds.” This is a quick and fun way to motivate children into making observations and for you to see how well they understand the vocabulary. Add direction terms (north, south, east, west) for more advanced students and include these words in the game. If you are playing this game outside remind students to never look directly at the Sun.
- Have students drop 6 to 10 beans onto black construction paper. They will glue each bean down exactly where it landed. Once the glue has dried, students play connect the dots with the beans and try to find a picture. They can connect the beans to form a picture using chalk or white crayon. Have them write or dictate a story about their bean constellation and give it a name. Share individual pictures with the class or display their creations.
- Use a globe to talk about your location on Earth and the countries that are on the other side of the Earth from us. Darken the classroom and focus a bright light on the globe at your location. (A clear lightbulb works best for this.) Explain that the light is the Sun. Slowly rotate the globe and explain how the place where you live turns toward the Sun and away from the Sun. Show how the Earth always turns in the same direction and never stops its rotation. Have students observe how some parts of the globe are in darkness while others are in light.
- Continue the discussion of day and night by introducing a unit on the habits and characteristics of nocturnal animals such as crickets, bats, moths, fireflies, spiders, or owls. Many night animals cannot see colors like humans can, but do see well enough to hunt for food at night. They are especially insensitive to red light. Show students how to change an ordinary flashlight into a night flashlight that some animals may not be able to see. Using red cellophane, red paper, or red fabric, show students how to cover the flashlight beam. They can easily secure the red cover with a rubber band or tape so that it is not permanent. It should allow enough red light for safety. As a homework assignment have students go on a nature walk with parents to search for nocturnal life using their red light flashlights.
- As a class project, record the weather for several days or weeks. Teach students the different types of cloud formations. Discuss what to do when you hear thunder and see lightning. Help students to become aware of the sights and sounds of the school day by observing, listening, and sharing their experiences.