Sky Journals

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Fall 2009-Day 2
Orientation to the Sky

Sky journals are folded pieces of white paper bound in a small booklet. After establishing the cardinal directions, the students make their first entry in their sky journals by drawing a stick figure representing their instructor pointing at the sun. After warning the students not to look directly at the sun, the instructor asks the students to draw a line representing the horizon and a stick figure representing herself pointing one arm at the sun. She also instructs them to label the line as East on the left and West on the right. Then instructor asks them to note in their sky journals a prediction of where the sun will be in the sky at the end of class and later when they are on their way home. She asks them to look for the moon as well and to record what they see in their sky journals daily for the next few weeks. Typically these pictures include the location of the sun, the moon (if applicable), themselves, trees, a cardinal direction key, the time of day, etc. Some students also like to include words, or written observations, to accompany their sky journal pictures. The students are encouraged to record observations of the sun and moon in their sky journals every day, (Or in Oregon, any time they are able to see either the sun and/or moon through the clouds). The students are also encouraged to make predictions about where they think the sun and/or moon will be at a later time.

Recording Observations and Making Predictions 121511115452.jpg

Students Drawing in their Sky Journals While Observing the Moons6300401.jpgs6300400.jpg

Over the course of the term, students are able to see the location of the sun and how it changes, the location of the moon (and its shape!) and how it changes, and the relationship between the sun and the moon and how that changes. Through their own observations, students can piece together the slow changes that they see in the sky. By using data that they have collected, they are able to determine that the position of the sun and both the the position and the shape of the moon change throughout the different times of day, the days, the weeks, etc.

Documenting Changes Over the Course of the Day 121511114451.jpg

Written Observations & Drawings of the Changes in the Moon

Drawing of the Relationship Between the Sun and the Moon

Student Example

Sky journals are wonderful tools for recording observations of the moon. When observations are made regularly, the changes in the moon's movement pattern and shape become evident. Here is an example of a student's sky journal documenting the changes in the moon over the course of the term: example2011fp111skyjournal.pdf

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