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Uncovering Student Ideas in Astronomy

Uncovering Student Ideas in Astronomy- 45 New Formative Assessment Probes, by Page Keeley and Cary Sneider, rolled off the press in March 2012. This book contains 45 informative astronomy-related science questions that can be used by elementary teachers, middle school science teachers, high school earth and space science teachers, university pre-service educators, NASA education specialists, and professional developers. Beginning with a Foreword by Andrew Fraknoi, former Executive Director of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the book provides an introductory chapter on how formative assessment probes are used in an astronomy context and background information on students' mental models related to astronomy ideas. The 45 probes are organized into collections in the following sections: Section 1: The Nature of Planet Earth; Section 2- The Sun-Earth System; Section 3- Modeling the Moon; Section IV- Dynamic Solar System; and Section 5- Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe. You can see a sample probe, "The Shorter Days in Winter" and read the introductory chapter from this book at the NSTA Press Web Site. The following is a list of the probes, the related concepts addresses by each probe, and the suggested K-12 grade level(s) for which each probe is most appropriately used:

Section 1:The Nature of Planet Earth

1- IS EARTH REALLY ROUND? (Earth: shape) Grades 3-6

2- WHERE DO PEOPLE LIVE? (Earth: gravity, Earth: shape) Grades 1-5

3- FALLING THROUGH THE EARTH (Earth: gravity, Earth: shape) Grades 6-12

4- WHAT CAUSES NIGHT AND DAY? (day-night cycle, Earth: shape, Earth: spin) Grades 3-9

5- THE TWO R'S (day-night cycle, Earth: orbit, Earth: seasons, Earth: spin) Grades 3-12

6- WHERE DID THE SUN GO? (day-night cycle, Earth: shape, Earth: spin) Grades 3-8

Section 2- The Sun-Earth System

7- SUNRISE TO SUNSET (objects in the sky, seasons:cause, seasons: length of day, solar system objects: spin, Sun: altitude at noon, Sun: path in sky) Grades 2-8

8- NO SHADOW (objects in the sky, seasons:cause, solar system objects: spin, Sun: altitude at noon, Sun: path in sky) Grades 3-8

9- WHAT'S MOVING? (seasons: constellations, solar system objects: orbits, solar system objects: spin, Sun: location relative to Earth) Grades 3-8

10-PIZZA SUN- (apparant vs. actual size, Sun: size) Grades 3-12

11- HOW FAR AWAY IS THE SUN? (apparant vs. actual size, Sun: distance, Sun: location relative to Earth) Grades 3-9

12- SUNSPOTS (solar system objects: spin, Sun: surface features) Grades 6-12

13-SHORTER DAYS IN WINTER (seasons: cause, seasons: length of day, solar system objects: spin, Sun: path in the sky) Grades 6-12

14-CHANGING CONSTELLATIONS (objects in the sky, seasons: cause, seasons: constellations, solar system objects: orbits, solar system objects: spin) Grades 3-12

15-WHY IS IT WARMER IN SUMMER? (seasons: cause, seasons: constellations, seasons: length of day, solar system objects: orbits, Sun: altitude at noon, Sun: distance, Sun: path in the sky) Grades 6-12

Section 3- Modeling the Moon

16- SEEING THE MOON (Moon: appearance, objects in the sky, solar system objects: identity) Grades 1-8

17- SIZING UP THE MOON (apparent vs. actual size, Moon: appearance, Moon: size) Grades 1-5

18- DOES THE MOON ORBIT THE EARTH? (gravity, Moon: orbit, solar system objects: orbits, solar system objects: spin) Grades 3-12

19- EARTH OR MOON SHADOW? (Moon: appearance, Moon: orbit, Moon: phase, objects in the sky) Grades 5-12

20- MOON PHASE AND SOLAR ECLIPSE (Moon: appearance, Moon: eclipse, Moon: orbit, Moon: phase, solar system objects: orbits, Sun: eclipse) Grades 6-12

21- COMPARING ECLIPSES (Moon: appearance, Moon: eclipse, Moon: orbit, Moon: size, Sun: eclipse) Grades 6-12

22- MOON SPIN (Moon: appearance, Moon: orbit, Moon: spin, objects in the sky, solar system objects: spin) Grades 5-12

23- CHINESE MOON (Moon: appearance, Moon: phases, objects in the sky) Grades 6-12

24- CRESCENT MOON (Moon: appearance, Moon: phase) Grades 2-8

25- HOW LONG IS A DAY ON THE MOON? (Moon: orbit, Moon: spin, solar system objects: orbits, solar system objects: spin) Grades 6-12

26- DOES THE EARTH GO THROUGH PHASES? (Moon: orbit, Moon: phase, solar system objects: spin) Grades 6-12

27- IS THE MOON FALLING? (gravity, Moon: orbit, solar system objects: orbits) Grades 6-12

Section 4- Dynamic Solar System

28- WHAT'S INSIDE OUR SOLAR SYSTEM? (objects in the sky, solar systm objects: identity) Grades 3-6

29- HOW DO PLANETS ORBIT THE SUN? (gravity, solar systm objects: identity, solar system objects: orbits) Grades 3-6

30- IS IT A PLANET OR A STAR? (apparant vs. actual size, objects in the sky, solar system objects: identity) Grades 3-8

31- HUMAN SPACE TRAVEL (gravity, other planetary systems, solar system objects: identity, space exploration, stars: locations) Grades 5-12

32- WHERE DO YOU FIND GRAVITY? (gravity, other planetary systems, solar system objects: identity, solar system objects: orbits, space exploration) Grades 5-12

33- GRAVITY IN OTHER PLANETARY SYSTEMS (gravity, solar system objects: orbits, solar system objects: spin, space exploration) Grades 6-12

Section 5- Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe

34- SHOOTING STAR (objects in the sky, solar system objects: identity, stars: locations) Grades 3-8

35- IS THE SUN A STAR? (apparant vs. actual size, solar system objects: identity, stars: brightness and distance, stars: locations) Grades 3-8

36- WHERE ARE THE STARS IN ORION? (objects in the sky, stars: brightness and distance, stars: locations) Grades 3-12

37- WHICH IS BIGGER? (apparant vs. actual size, solar system objects: identity, stars: size) Grades 3-8

38- WHAT ARE STARS MADE OF? (stars: composition) Grades 6-12

39- WHAT HAPPENS TO STARS WHEN THEY DIE? (stars: evolution) Grades 8-12

40- DO STARS CHANGE? (stars: brightness and distance, stars: composition, stars: evolution, stars: size) Grades 8-12

41- ARE WE MADE OF STAR STUFF? (stars: composition, stars: evolution,stars: origin of elements) Grades 8-12

42- SEEING INTO THE PAST (galaxies, speed of light, stars: brightness and distance) Grades 8-12

43- WHAT IS THE MILKY WAY? (galaxies, objects in the sky, stars: locations) Grades 6-12

44- EXPANDING UNIVERSE (big bang theory, galaxies, speed of light) Grades 8-12

45- IS THE BIG BANG JUST A THEORY? (big bang theory) Grades 8-12

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