Friday, March 28, 2014

Out of this world Science Stations

Teaching about Space is one of my favourite science units.  If you read my blog over at TeachingisaGift you will know I post about it quite often.  I have created and used a lot of interesting teaching aids to assist with concepts like phases of the moon.
Picture of Moon Phases board from
Moon Phases board.  Students put their head through the middle and rotate the board counterclockwise to "see" the phases of the moon.  This year I attached labels of each phase, so that when students were viewing the moon face, they could confirm their ideas.
Picture of Moon Phases with Oreos Investigation
Students love to model the phases of the moon with Oreo cookies.
This year I had my colleague Steve Lang come from the Canadian Space resource center and teach the students about Canadian Astronauts and their contribution to space exploration.  He also organizes a Space Day each year.  Students from a local high school present a variety of hands-on astronomy concepts to students in grade six from across the board.  The event is so popular that they are holding 6 space days this year!  My student teacher did an excellent job of teaching many of the main concepts from the curriculum during her teaching block and we are lucky to have Brian Cheney from Cosmic Connections come and host a Star Party for our students and their families. Brian brings special telescopes with him and sets them up in our school yard during the day and evening.  Students and their families get the opportunity to view the planets and moon in a way in which many have never had the opportunity.
Picture of Cosmic Connections Star Party
I was looking for an interesting way to review and assess my students learning.  While I was browsing on Teachers Pay Teachers I came across this Space unit which is meant to be run as stations.   
Picture of Space a Science Stations Unit

Picture of Space a Science Stations Unit
All of the materials were included in the package.  I printed them in colour on cardstock and laminated them.  You can see here a student working on "Sort It".  They sort the planets in order and then record their findings in a booklet which is included in the unit.
Picture of Space a Science Stations Unit
I used my Mac laptops to set up the Tech It station.  Students watched two StudyJams videos and wrote and drew about what they had learned.
Picture of Space a Science Stations Unit

Picture of Space a Science Stations Unit

For this station students were asked to draw a representation of the lunar cycle.  It was an excellent way for me to see if they had retained what had been taught in class and when they had created moon phases flip books at home.
Picture of Phases of the Moon Flipbook by
Just click on the image above to download a FREE copy.
Picture of Space a Science Stations Unit
At this station, students had to use their logic and mathematical skills to analyze a data table about the planets, and then make some scientific conjectures.  
Picture of Space a Science Stations Unit
The unit includes images such as the one above which help bring the actual concepts to life for the students.  Here they are asked to analyze a photo and explain what they observe.
Picture of Space a Science Stations Unit
Picture of Space a Science Stations Unit
At the match it station, students needed to match the concepts listed on one side of the card, with the scientific explanation on the back.  They then recorded their findings in their science notebook.
Picture of Space a Science Stations Unit
At the create it station, students are asked to use materials provided (pencil crayons, paper, etc.) to create a model of why the sun appears to move across the sky.  They then record their model in their science notebook.  
Picture of Space a Science Stations Unit
In this popular station, Explore It! students recreated an investigation we had already done as a class.  They used a styrofoam ball and a flashlight to model why we see day and night.  They had to explain the benefits and limitations of using a model such as the one shown.
Picture of Space a Science Stations Unit
I anticipated that each of the stations would not take the same amount of time for my students to complete.  I gave each group of three students 10-15 minutes to complete the assignment at the station.  If they finished early, they were to review their notes, tidy up the station for the next rotation, and were then allowed to move around the room in a scavenger hunt fashion to find the answers to the task cards I had laminated and scattered throughout the classroom.  
Picture of Moon Phases and Seasons Task Cards

The half sized recording sheet included with the task cards was the PERFECT fit for the back blank page of the science notebook from the Space Science Stations unit.  There are 36 task cards included. I encouraged my students to use the moon phases model shown at the beginning of this post to assist them if they needed to review.  The only change I made to the moon phases board this year was that I attached labels of each phase of the moon to the board, so students could confirm whether they had the right answer or not.

I only created one NEW thing myself for this unit, but I have to tell you I am really proud of how it turned out!  I made the signs for the stations using a chalkboard background and a great chalkboard font.  I purchased 4 x 6 plastic frames at the dollar store and voila! I had instant signs for my centers which can be used again and again.  If you would like to download your own FREE copy just click on the image below. 

Picture of 4 x 6 Signs for Stations

Freebie Fridays


  1. This looks like a lot of fun! I bet your kids loved it.

  2. Hey Sidney,
    Do your kids have a placemat of some kind on their desks? Did you make them in Art?
    Thinking of Teaching

    1. Beth,
      I do have them make placemats. There is a post about it somewhere on my personal blog. Here is the link I LOVE doing this activity each year. The kids love it too!

  3. I love how you made the booklet for completing each station! This makes me wish I was still teaching junior!

    Mrs. Beattie's Classroom


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