Model NGSS Lessons: 4th - 5th Grade

Document Type

Teacher Resource

Grade Level

Grade Level: 5th Grade

Publication Date


Background Information

A key Disciplinary Core Idea for understanding our place in space is that the orbits of Earth and the sun and of the moon around Earth cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily changes in the length of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times. There are many misconceptions about earth’s orbit but it is important to remember and to convey to students that Earth is moving around the Sun and the Moon is moving around us. What we see each day with the motion of the Sun moving across the sky is the result of the Earth rotating on its axis. Because the Earth spins on its axis, it looks like the Sun is moving across the sky. This movement produces observable changes in the position of the sun and in the shadows of objects.

Performance Expectations


Earth’s Place in the Universe: Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky.



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