Many of my students are from low-income families and participate in the free and reduced lunch program. The town we live in is around 12,000 people and is the largest in a nine county radius, yet we are located many miles from anything of size. Our student body is comprised of 5th-8th grade with over 800 students on campus. Budget cuts to education have hit Oklahoma Schools very hard. My school has taken additional cuts due to its reliance on the oil field. Many of my students' families are also reliant on the oil field, resulting in increased transient activity. The frequent moves create gaps in education as they transfer from school to school. Despite their setbacks, my students love to learn!
The first words out of my 7th graders' mouths as they walk into my classroom each day are, "Are we going to the lab today?!" For the first time, many of them are getting to do science instead of just read about it.
I am blessed to have access to some resources, but there is not enough to go around. Teacher cutbacks combined with increased student population has created difficulties.
Astronomy is a super fun unit to learn about in science. However, it can be difficult to visualize and understand how moon phases, eclipses, and seasons occur due to the location of the sun, moon, and Earth. I have selected a poster of the solar system and the Illuminated Orbiter to aid in the daily Astronomy lessons.
The Illuminated Orbiter is a hands-on model that shows relationships between Earth, the moon, and the sun and demonstrates day and night, phases of the moon, eclipses, and the seasons.
This model helps the students understand how the moon orbits Earth and how the Earth orbits the sun. It can be the visualization tool that bridges the gap in understanding.
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