Inquiry-Based Science Lessons for Advanced and Gifted Students in Grades 2-3
The word "astronaut" comes from the Greek words meaning "star sailor," and that is exactly what students will become in Astronaut Academy. This 30-lesson interdisciplinary science unit:
- Is designed to teach high-ability second and third graders how to think like real-world astronauts.
- Requires students to explore the far regions of the solar system.
- Was designed using the research-based Integrated Curriculum Model.
- Features challenging problem-based learning tasks and engaging resources.
- Includes detailed teacher instructions and suggestions for differentiation.
In this unit, students study the concept of exploration, journey to each planet, and create their own space station, all while acquiring scientific knowledge and habits, including how to follow the scientific method and properly conduct research and experiments. Suggestions and guidance are included on how teachers can adjust the rigor of learning tasks based on students' interests and needs.
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION LESSON 1 Explaining Exploration LESSON 2 If an Astronaut Were a Firefighter LESSON 3 NASA Knowledge LESSON 4 Cosmic Cadet Concerns LESSON 5 Light and Lima Beans LESSON 6 Turning Toys Into Scientific Tools LESSON 7 Calisthenics for Cosmic Cadets LESSON 8 Assessing Adaptability LESSON 9 The Four Forces of Flight LESSON 10 Clear Communication and Collaboration LESSON 11 Laying Out a Logo LESSON 12 Shaping a Shuttle LESSON 13 A Day in the Life LESSON 14 Saluting the Sun LESSON 15 The Movement of the Moon LESSON 16 Probing a Planet LESSON 17 Meandering to Mercury LESSON 18 Visiting Venus LESSON 19 Mission to Mars LESSON 20 Journeying to Jupiter LESSON 21 Going Old School LESSON 22 The Buried Button LESSON 23 Sailing to the Seventh Planet LESSON 24 Navigating to Neptune LESSON 25 Pleading for Pluto’s Position as a Planet LESSON 26 Thinking About Home LESSON 27 Designing a Dome LESSON 28 Welcome Back! LESSON 29 Time to Review LESSON 30 A Solar System Sign-Off REFERENCES APPENDIX A Recommended Reading APPENDIX B Master Materials List ABOUT THE AUTHOR COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS ALIGNMENT NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS ALIGNMENT
Jason S. McIntosh, Ph.D., is an experienced educator (24 years in the field) and passionate advocate for gifted education