We Are All Just Star Dust, and That Makes Us Special

Sara Gross, Elementary teacher, Barringer Academic Center

(Abstract PDF)

(Unit PDF)       


One of the topics of study for science in the third and sixth grades is the Solar System. This is an idea which gets the students excited, and one they look forward to studying. While the topic is interspersed in our reading curricula, there is a broader chance to explore the many systems that make up our lives and existence.

In this unit, students have a chance to integrate our study of the Solar System with other aspects of their lives to see that science is not a standalone subject, but incorporates all parts of our lives. By studying the “building blocks” of the universe, students begin to analyze how all living and non-living things are connected in unexpected ways, and how we can begin to understand those connections through observation and questioning.

The science portion of this unit starts with a atomic and molecular structure at an elementary level, and how everything is made up of subatomic particles in different combinations. The unit then follows the historical understanding of the Solar System from the ancient mythology based on observations in the sky, to the more scientific Earth-based model and ending with our modern understanding of a Sun-centered Solar System.