AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 132 Astronomy in the K-12 Classroom
Oral, Wednesday, January 12, 2005, 2:00-3:30pm, Pacific Salon 1

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[132.08] Kinesthetic Astronomy: Significant Upgrades to the Sky Time Lesson that Support Student Learning

C.A. Morrow, M. Zawaski (Space Science Institute)

This paper will report on a significant upgrade to the first in a series of innovative, experiential lessons we call Kinesthetic Astronomy. The Sky Time lesson reconnects students with the astronomical meaning of the day, year, and seasons. Like all Kinesthetic Astronomy lessons, it teaches basic astronomical concepts through choreographed bodily movements and positions that provide educational sensory experiences. They are intended for sixth graders up through adult learners in both formal and informal educational settings. They emphasize astronomical concepts and phenomenon that people can readily encounter in their “everyday” lives such as time, seasons, and sky motions of the Sun, Moon, stars, and planets.

Kinesthetic Astronomy lesson plans are fully aligned with national science education standards, both in content and instructional practice. Our lessons offer a complete learning cycle with written assessment opportunities now embedded throughout the lesson. We have substantially strengthened the written assessment options for the Sky Time lesson to help students translate their kinesthetic and visual learning into the verbal-linguistic and mathematical-logical realms of expression.

Field testing with non-science undergraduates, middle school science teachers and students, Junior Girl Scouts, museum education staff, and outdoor educators has been providing evidence that Kinesthetic Astronomy techniques allow learners to achieve a good grasp of concepts that are much more difficult to learn in more conventional ways such as via textbooks or even computer animation.

Field testing of the Sky Time lesson has also led us to significant changes from the previous version to support student learning. We will report on the nature of these changes.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 5
© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.