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Blach Intermediate School Los Altos, California
Mrs. Cindy Kane
Mrs. Denise Ray
Mrs. Mary Wasik
Astronomy: An Interdisciplinary Project of Science, Social Studies, and Math
Anza and Font in Search of Latitude
Focus of the Lesson
Students will become acquainted with the instruments and methods used to measure latitude.
Social Studies:The students will have an overview of the Anza web site.
Students will use online resources to compare the latitudes of sites on the
Anza trail as measured by Anza and Font and as measured by modern
Science:The students will be able to practice using their quadrants by measuring the
altitude angle of various objects on school campus.
The students will learn how to safely locate the height of the sun from the
horizon on any given day and likewise the angle of the sun from directly overhead ( the complement of the altitude).
The students will be able to locate the North Star and measure its altitude angle.
Science and Math:The students will understand that the altitude of the North Star is always equal to the latitude of the given location on the earth's surface.
Students will understand that the complement of the altitude of the sun on the Spring and Fall Equinox is equal to the latitude of the given location.
Students can compare their results with an ephemeris containing the approximate sun altitude for any given day for a given latitude on the earth's surface.
Additional time could be spent with advanced math students in learning about the tangent ratio and using the angle of elevation and distance from the base of an object to determine the height of the object.
Projected Time Needed
Social Studies: 2 days
Science: 3 days
Math: 1 day
Homework time to construct quadrant and complete online worksheets
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Globes and atlases
Pattern and information about construction of the quadrant. Available on lesson plan web site.
Cardboard, straw, metal washer, glue or tape, scissors.
Access to the Internet to find latitude tables and worksheets at http://www.blach.losaltos.k12.ca.us/staff/wasik/anzaproj/page1.html and to complete research using Web de Anza (http://anza.uoregon.edu), the online atlas at http://www.etakguide.com/ and other locations.
Use of Web de Anza
Primary source data for interdisciplinary lesson plan.
Use of Scholars-Consultants (optional)
Teacher Activities/Student Activities
Social Studies:Day 1 - Teacher will acquaint students with the importance of Juan Bautistade Anza in history. Students will visit Web de Anza and complete an online overview. (Click http://www.blachschool.org/staff/wasik/anzalessonplan/index.html ).
Day 2 - Teacher will review homework with students. Students will begin online worksheet about latitude of sites on the Anza trail. ( Click http://www.blachschool.org/staff/wasik/anzalessonplan/anzalatitude.html ) Homework - Students will complete online worksheet on latitudes. (Click http://www.blachschool.org/staff/wasik/anzalessonplan/anzalatitude.html)
Science:Day 1 - Teacher will distribute the quadrant patterns and information (click http://www.blachschool.org/staff/wasik/anzalessonplan/page1.html) on this lesson plan web site and aid students with the construction which they will complete for homework. Teacher will demonstrate use of the quadrant in measuring angles of elevation. Teacher will emphasize the safe use of the quadrant to measure the sun altitude. Homework - Student will construct the quadrant.
Day 2 - Teacher will accompany students to the playground for practice in measuring altitudes with the quadrants. Student will keep a log of objects (click http://www.blachschool.org/staff/wasik/anzalessonplan/log.html) measured and corresponding altitudes. Teacher or parent will demonstrate use of GPS receiver for the modern calculation of latitude. Homework - Student will complete log by measuring the altitude of the moon, north star, and visible planets (weather permitting).
Day 3 - Teacher will review homework assignment. Teacher will show the students the latitude table (click http://www.blachschool.org/staff/wasik/anzalessonplan/northstarsun.html) and demonstrate how to determine the latitude of the local site from the measurements taken with the quadrant and the table.Moon party - Each year the teachers invite astronomers from the Peninsula Astronomical Society for an evening of moon watching. Several amateur astronomers set up their telescopes on our playground and let the students and families view the moon, planets, and stars.
Math:Day 1: Teacher will use diagrams on this lesson plan web site to explain the geometric concepts involved in the definition of latitude (click http://www.blachschool.org/staff/wasik/anzalessonplan/centralangle.html) and in the use of the north star (click http://www.blachschool.org/staff/wasik/anzalessonplan/northstar.html) and the sun for determining latitude. Homework - Students will complete angle of elevation (click http://www.blachschool.org/staff/wasik/anzalessonplan/questions.html ) questions on this web site.
Evaluation of Student Learning
Science teacher will evaluate students on construction of quadrant , use of quadrant on Day 2 and satisfactory completion of log. Quizzes in the Social Studies and Math will include problems about latitude. See web page for sample problems. (Click http://www.blachschool.org/staff/wasik/anzalessonplan/questions.html or http://www.blachschool.org/staff/wasik/anzalessonplan/anzalatitude.html) questions on this web site.) questions on this web site.
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Evaluation of Lesson
Teachers using the lesson plan will collaborate as they teach the lessons and following the completion of the plan to determine the effectiveness of the lesson.
Content Standards (Note: Links below go to listed National Council for the Social Studies curriculum standard reflected in this lesson for Middle School) .
(Middle School Level)
Culture - 1. a
Time, Continuity, and Change - 2. c
People, Places, and Environment - 3. c,d,i
Science, Technology, and Society y - 8. a,b,c
Global Connections - 9. c
California Standards- Grade 7: History and Social Science, Science, Mathematics. (click http://goldmine.cde.ca.gov/statetests/ )
National Council for Teachers of Mathematics- Standards for Grades 6-8 (click http:standards.nctm.org/documents/chapter6/index.htm )
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