Take the students outside into the playground. Ask the students to lie down (preferably on a grassy area) and look up into the sky. Remind the students not to look directly at the sun. Ask the students to share what they can see e.g. blue sky, the sun, clouds.
Request that the students close their eyes. Ask them to imagine that the time is now midnight. Using their ‘mind’s eye’ (their imagination), ask the students to share what they can see e.g. black sky, the moon, stars.
After the class has completed the activity, return to the classroom.
Project a copy of the Day and Night Venn Diagram on the board. As a class, read through the vocabulary cards contained within the Night and Day Word Wall. Decide where to place each word on the Venn diagram. (Note: The students may not be familiar with all of the vocabulary words at this point – these words can be put aside for future use.) Use the blank vocabulary cards contained within the resource to add any additional suggestions made by the students.
Once the Venn diagram has been completed, ask the students:
What do day and night have in common?
What is different about daytime and nighttime?
Do you prefer daytime or nighttime? Why?
Discuss the objects that can be seen in a daytime sky and the objects that can be seen in a nighttime sky. As a class, create a daytime sky and a nighttime sky on a large piece of butcher’s paper. Display the images in the classroom throughout the unit.
Explain to the students that, for thousands of years, human beings have been looking to the skies in an effort to understand the natural phenomena of day and night. Before the days of modern science, people told stories to explain why things happened. Elements of nature (such as plants, animals and the weather) were common features of these stories.
Watch the traditional tale, How Night and Day WereDivided, on the Chickasaw TV website (the Chickasaw are Indigenous Native American peoples from the southern United States). After watching, explain to the students that Indigenous peoples all around the world have their own traditional tales to explain why day and night happen.
Write the following sentence beginning on the board: I think day and night happen because… . Ask the students to complete this sentence in their workbooks, recording their own ideas about why day and night occur.
Gather the class together and invite the students to share their sentences. These will be revisited and revised later in the unit.
Encourage more capable students to research other traditional tales about the origins of day and night.
Encourage less confident students to participate in class discussions at a level at which they feel comfortable.
Suggested Assessment Strategies
used strategic whole class or individual questioning
observed student participation during learning activities