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Indiana Wesleyan University

Elementary Education Lesson Plan

CAEP 2018 K-6 Elementary Teacher Preparation Standards
By Jillian Findlay

UNIT BIG IDEA: Stories Have Power

LESSON RATIONALE: Shooting stars have been a fascination to many for centuries. Through
this lesson, students will be invited into the stories of the stars in order to answer the driving
question: Do stars really move? Through an investigation of potential and kinetic energy and a
STEM activity of creating their own shooting star, students will be provided with a concrete
object lesson that is hands-on and expands their conceptual knowledge.

I. Goals/Objectives/Standard(s)
A. Goal(s): Students will participate in an inquiry-based investigation from the driving
question, “Do stars really move?” to discover the concepts of potential and kinetic
B. Objective(s):
a. Through engineering a shooting star spinner, students will explore the concepts of
potential and kinetic energy to determine and answer the driving question: “Do
stars really move?”
C. Standard(s):
a. 5.ESS.1 Analyze the scale of our solar system and its components: our solar
system includes the sun, moon, seven other planets and their moons, and many
other objects like asteroids and comets.
b. 4.PS.4 Describe and investigate the different ways in which energy can be
generated and/or converted from one form of energy to another form of energy.
II. Management Plan:
A. Materials:
● Anticipatory set:
○ Book: “How to Catch a Star” by Oliver Jeffers.
● Mini-lesson: Twinkling Stars experiment
○ a large square foil
○ glass bowl (preferably 2 liters)
○ tap water
○ flashlight
○ pencil
● Shooting Star Spinner Construction:
○ directions sheet
○ Already made example spinner
○ Plastic water bottles w/ hole in lid & bottom of bottle (one per
○ 2 large rubber bands and one smaller one (per student)
○ 2 jumbo paper clips (per student)
○ Yellow cellophane
○ Small cardboard stars (one per student)
○ Black Construction Paper
○ White &/or Yellow Paint
○ Q-tips
● Closure video: Do stars really move? video:
B. Time: approx. 60 minutes
1. Anticipatory set: 8 minutes
2. Mini lesson: 12-15 minutes
3. Independent/ exploration work time: 20 minutes
4. Closure: 5 minutes
C. Space:
1. Anticipatory set & mini lesson: Students will be on the carpet at the front
of the classroom.
2. Independent/ exploration work time: Students will be spread across the
room working on their shooting star spinner.
3. Closure: Students will be back in their assigned seats.
D. Behavior:
1. Listening: Students are expected to be engaged in all activities, listening
with their ears and eyes, keeping their hands to themselves, and sitting
2. Using Materials: Students will be expected use materials such as scissors
and rubber bands correctly and responsibly.
3. Volume Level: Students are expected to engage in conversation without
interrupting others as to keep the volume down during whole group
discussions/ activities. During independent/group work, students may talk
at an appropriate volume.
4. Based on behavior, students will be given the opportunity to clip up on
the behavior chart, earning “owl bucks.” For misbehavior, students will be
told discretely to move their clip down on the clip chart.
E. Technology: Students will be watching an information video together as a class.

III. Anticipatory Set:

● Gather the students to the carpet at the back of the classroom.
● Outside our home of planet earth is a universe full of planets, a sun, a moon, countless
stars and a lot of other really neat things! Some of these things we can even see if we look
really closely in the night sky or with a telescope! What about space fascinates you the
most? Allow for student discussion. Awesome! In this story, “How to Catch a Star” by
Oliver Jeffers, the main character is fascinated by the twinkling stars in the sky. As we
read together, pay close attention to how his love of stars helped him persist in catching
one of his own!
● Read book aloud to students.
● Wow! What a story! What did you all think of it? What was your favorite part or detail?
● Other questions for discussion/ grand conversation: Do you think the star the boy found in
the water was truly a fallen star? Why or why not? How was the boy’s persistence in
catching a star and waiting similar to how a scientist might persist in their investigations
or experiments? Now let me ask you this: Do you think stars move? Why or why not?
Allow for student discussion.

IV. Purpose: Today we are going to learn more about the movement of stars. This is important
to learn because what we learn from stars may help us to understand our own movements and
the types of energies we use to move.


V. Adaptation to Individual Differences and Diverse Learners:
A. Remediation:
1. Students who struggle with retention will have several encounters with the
content through the experiment and their engineering of the shooting star
spinner which are two concrete examples.. This allows for
conceptualization as these students are provided with visual, kinesthetic,
and hands-on activities.
2. Independent construction time will be at the students’ own pace and all
students have access to direct teacher help.
B. Enrichment: Have students who need an extra challenge to design and/or build
another invention that poses the same purposes of explaining kinetic and potential

VI. Lesson Presentation (Input/Output)

Mini Lesson/ Guided Practice (whole group):
● Have students gather around in a circle. Remember when I asked if you think stars really
move? Well today, our goal is to answer this burning question! I have an experiment to
show you that will simulate the twinkling of stars in the sky. Here I have a large bowl
with some water inside on top of a crumpled sheet of tin foil. Can I have a volunteer to be
my flashlight holder and another to be my lights person? When the lights go off, I want
you to shine the flashlight onto the water in the bowl about 1 foot above it. Make sure to
keep your eyes on the tin foil. Let’s see what happens!
● Observe the foil through the undisturbed water. Now using a pencil, tap the surface of the
water gently. Observe the foil through the moving water. Ask students What do you see
happening? Do you see twinkling stars? How does this experiment influence your
thoughts on our driving question: Do stars really move? Allow for discussion.
● I love your thoughts! Now, using this experiment, I want to introduce to you the concepts
of potential and kinetic energy. Can everyone say ‘potential energy’? Potential energy is
the stored energy an object has because of its position or state. For example, a bicycle on
the top of a hill, a book held over your head, or a baseball about to be thrown. In this
experiment, the pencil has potential energy because I am holding it above the water and
it has the possibility of movement, but has not moved yet. Now, can everyone say, ‘kinetic
energy’? Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. So going back to our examples, the bike
rolling down the hill, the book falling off your head, and the baseball being thrown
through the air all have kinetic energy because those object are now in motion, they are
moving. For our pencil here, it has potential energy as I hold it above the water which
soon becomes kinetic energy as I push it down into the water, forcing the pencil to move.
Now, there is something else here in front of us that has potential and kinetic energy. Can
anyone guess what that is? Yes! The water. The water, as it holds still and is undisturbed
has potential energy because at any moment, it has the potential to move. Then, as I tap it
with the pencil, it then has kinetic energy as it ripples and moves! Awesome connections!
Now, I have a challenge for you today. You are going to build your own shooting star
spinner that will help you build on this concept of kinetic and potential energy as well as
further your investigation of our diving question!

Independent/ Group Work:

● Students will work in small groups at their own pace to build their shooting star spinners.
● Two tables will be set up for students to work at (come & go as needed): (1) painting
their stars for decorating their spinners, (2) a teacher led table for help with constructing
the spinners.
● Students will be encouraged to collaborate, discuss, and have fun being engineers and

VII. Check for understanding:

● Gather students back to the carpet with their spinners in hand. How is your shooting star
spinners an example of potential and kinetic energy? Allow students to demonstrate/
explain/ discuss.
● Yes! As you are winding it up it is potential energy, and when you let go and it is
spinning, it turns to kinetic energy! Great investigations!
● Now, have you all come to a conclusion to our driving question? Do you believe stars
really move? Allow students to discuss their thinking.
● Let’s watch this quick video and find out if your conclusions are correct.
● Play, “Do stars really move?” video:
● So do stars really move? Yes! Maybe not in the way we expected, but nonetheless, your
investigations led you a meaningful conclusion and you learned so much about stars and
their movements!

VIII. Review learning outcomes / Closure: Ask students to reflect on the following
questions: What was your favorite part of this lesson and investigation today? What was the most
difficult part of this challenge? Did your investigations about the stars lead to any other space
fascinations or questions that you would like to further explore in later lessons?


● Formative:
○ During the mini lesson I will ask questions depending on the content or student
○ I will listen to students’ responses, both verbal and nonverbal to determine if the
student(s) are understanding the content and task at hand.
○ Closing questions


1. How many students achieved the lesson objective(s)? For those who did not, why not?
2. What were my strengths and weaknesses?
3. How should I alter this lesson?
4. How would I pace it differently?
5. Were all students actively participating? If not, why not?
6. What adjustments did I make to reach varied learning styles and ability levels?
7. Was each student able to explain the concepts of potential and kinetic energy in reference to
their shooting star spinner?
8. Were the students able to answer the driving question confidently and with reasoning/
evidence from their investigations (before watching closure video)?

Shooting Star Spinner Directions Sheet

1. Paint stars on the black construction paper with q-tips to make it look like
2. Take your cardboard star and wrap a piece of yellow cellophane around it.
Secure with a small rubber band. Cut the ends of the cellophane to make the
tail of the shooting star.
3. Loop the two large rubber bands together. Attach a paperclip to the end of
one. Put it through the hole in the bottom of the bottle.
4. Unwrap the other paper clip and make a small hook at the end. Reach into
the bottle and grab ahold of the other end of the rubber band.
5. Tighten the hook to hold the rubber band in place. Put the wire through the
hole in the lid and bend it at a right angle so it lays flat over the lid. Wrap
the end of the wire around the star.
6. Once it is dry, trim the painted paper to fit the size of your bottle and tape it
to the bottle to make it look like space!
7. To play with the shooting star spinner, twist the star until the rubber band is
wound really tight. When you let go, it will spin around as it unwinds.