Exploring the Solar System using Fluorescence and Luminescence

Phairleania Brice, 2nd Grade, Dorothy J Vaughan Academy of Technology

Curriculum Unit (PDF)


In this Unit, students will explore the moon with the focus on the Earth, as well as the Sun and other stars. This inquiry unit is based on four main essential questions

●  “What makes the Moon glow?”

●  “Does the Moon’s glow change?”

●  “ How do we study the Moon, Earth and Solar System?”

●  “How does Fluorescence help us study the Moon, Earth and other planets?”

Using inquiry-based learning strategies the students will discover and research how the solar system functions and actively operates. Inquiry-based learning is an approach to learning that emphasizes the student’s role in the learning process. Rather than the teacher telling students what they need to know, students are encouraged to explore the material, ask questions, and share ideas. Inquiry-based learning uses different approaches to learning, including small-group discussion and guided instruction. Instead of memorizing facts and material, students learn by doing. This allows them to build knowledge through exploration, experience, and discussion. The unit will begin with the students accessing prior knowledge. The class will complete a K-W- L chart. The K-W-L chart will be used by the students throughout the unit to track what they have learned. Students will then begin conducting observations of the moon. The moon is a natural object that students see frequently. Students have also learned about the moon in all of the prior grade levels. Accessing prior knowledge and observing the moon first, promotes relative and relatable instructions. Starting with content that is already a part of students’ world facilitates effective learning. When students effectively learn they are engaged and retain more information.

Scholars will observe the moon for three days and answer essential questions. During their observations they will also discover how the moon glows.

Students will explore how fluorescence helps current space exploration and understand how the earth and universe around us are constantly changing. The unit will pose two overall inquiry-based questions that the students will research. The students will be given their research question at the beginning of the unit. The research question will increase engagement and promote increased comprehension of the lesson. Scholars will conduct their research through numerous lessons that lead back to an answer.