Merit Badge Lesson Plan. 8. With your counselor's approval and guidance, do ONE of the following: DAY 1: Requirement 4, start 6

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1 Astronomy Merit Badge Lesson Plan Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night: binoculars Skymaps?inside with planetarium if bad weather? 8. With your counselor's approval and guidance, do ONE of the following: c. Plan and host a star party for your Scout troop or other group such as your class at school. Use binoculars or a telescope to show and explain celestial objects to the group. DAY 1: Requirement 4, start 6 Constellation pictures Skymaps (enough for each Scout) Picture of the Milky Way from book, Space 2 magazine Do the following: (a) Identify in the sky at least 10 constellations, at least four of which are in the zodiac. Show the Scouts how to read a sky map. Help them find 10 constellations (4 zodiac) Explain the assignment that each Scout needs to identify at least 10 constellations this week. When they identify them, have a Scout leader initial on their sheet next to the name. If the weather cooperates, these constellations can also be identified at the star party. (b) Identify at least eight conspicuous stars, five of which are of magnitude I or brighter. Help the Scouts find the stars on their sky map.

2 Explain the assignment that each Scout needs to identify at least 8 conspicuous stars. When they identify them, have a Scout leader initial on their sheet next to the name. If the weather cooperates, these constellations can also be identified at the star party. 6. (b) Sketch the phase and the daily position of the Moon, at the same hour and place, for four days in a row. Include landmarks on the horizon such as hills, trees, and buildings. Explain assignment and get them started tonight. (c) Make two sketches of the Big Dipper. In one sketch, show the Big Dipper s orientation in the early evening sky. In another sketch, show its position several hours later. In both sketches, show the North Star and the horizon. Record the date and time each sketch was made. Polaris is a circumpolar star. Circumpolar means to circle around the pole. Circumpolar stars or constellations daily trace circles around the north celestial pole, without setting or dipping below the horizon. They move in a counterclockwise direction. On any given night, the constellation is visible during a portion of the circle; the rest is traced out when the constellation is hidden in the daylight sky. As the night hours pass and the Earth turns on its axis, the stars turn in circles around Polaris, which appears to stand still. Some constellations are close enough to Polaris that they never set below the horizon. These are the circumpolar stars. Most stars are farther away from Polaris, and fall below the horizon. These appear to rise in the east, cross overhead, and set in the west, much like the Sun. (Use page 4 Edmond Star Guide to explain) Demonstrate the change in position of the Big Dipper in the sky (using a skymap) Explain the assignment that each Scout will need to draw the sketches on a clear night this week and bring them to the Friday session (d) Explain what we see when we look at the Milky Way Space 2 magazine, page 2. All the stars that the eye can distinguish in the night sky are part of the Milky Way galaxy, but aside from these relatively nearby stars, the galaxy appears as a hazy band of white light arching around the entire celestial sphere. The light originates from stars and other material that lie within the galactic plane. (show a picture) DAY 2: Requirements 1, 2, 3 First Aid list Pollution teaching aid Telescope diagrams, telescopes, binoculars, if available 1. Do the following: a. Describe the proper clothing and other precautions for safety making observations at night and in cold weather. Ask Scouts to describe and make a list

3 b. Tell how to safely observe the Sun, objects near the Sun, and the Moon. Explain to the Scouts that they should never look directly at or near the Sun, even for a few moments. Even looking at the sun with sunglasses can cause permanent blindness or other damage to your eyes that might not be immediately noticeable. The safest way to observe the sun is indirectly by projection. c. Explain first aid for injuries or illnesses such as heat and cold reactions, dehydration, bites and stings, and damage to your eyes that could occur during observation. Play first aid game: one scout pulls a condition out of a jar and can either choose to describe the condition or how to treat it. A second scout must describe the opposite (if the first scout describes the condition, the second scout must describe how to treat, or visa versa). If the second scout gets it correct, then he draws the next one. 2. Explain what light pollution is and how it and air pollution affect astronomy. Use light pollution teaching aide 3. With the aid of diagrams (or real telescopes if available), do each of the following: (a) Explain why binoculars and telescopes are important astronomical tools. Demonstrate or explain how these tools are used. (b) Describe the similarities and differences of several types of astronomical telescopes. (c) Explain the purposes of at least three instruments used with astronomical telescopes. (d) Describe the proper care and storage of telescopes and binoculars both at home and in the field. Show Scouts diagrams of different types of telescopes and explain how the work using page 5 of Kids Discover Telescopes Use page 17 of same book to discuss other tools, including binoculars DAY 3: Requirements 5, 6 Supplies needed Planet model Phases teaching aide 5. Do the following: (a) List the names of the five most visible planets. Explain which ones can appear in phases similar to lunar phases and which ones cannot, and explain why. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. To your eyes they appear as stars. They do not create light like a star, rather sunlight illuminates their surfaces and we see them the same way we see our Moon.

4 Explain phases with teaching aide (b) Using the Internet (with your parent's permission), books, and other resources, find out when each of the five most visible planets that you identified in requirement 5a will be observable in the evening sky during the next 12 months, then compile this information in the form of a chart or table. (c) Describe the motion of the planets across the sky. (d) Observe a planet and describe what you saw. Use Planetary movement resource to have Scouts complete b-d 6. At approximately weekly intervals, sketch the position of Venus, Mars, or Jupiter in relation to the stars. Do this for at least four weeks and at the same time of night. On your sketch, record the date and time next to the planet s position. Use your sketch to explain how planets move. Explain that this will need to be completed at home. DAY 4: Requirement 6 Picture of the moon with landmarks Paper, pencils to draw the moon (enough for each Scout) 6. Do the following: (a) Sketch the face of the Moon and indicate at least five seas and five craters. Label these landmarks. (b) Sketch the phase and the daily position of the Moon, at the same hour and place, for four days in a row. Include landmarks on the horizon such as hills, trees, and buildings. Explain the changes you observe. Use Moon diagram and paper to have Scouts complete 6a. Review Scout drawings of phases and discuss. Find out about three different career opportunities in astronomy. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you. Use astronomy career sheet to review career opportunities. Make up any missed work

5 DAY 5: Requirements complete 4, 6, 7, 8 Supplies needed Sun, Kids Discover magazine 6 (c) List the factors that keep the Moon in orbit around Earth. (d) With the aid of diagrams, explain the relative positions of the Sun, Earth, and the Moon at the times of lunar and solar eclipses, and at the times of new, first-quarter, full, and lastquarter phases of the Moon. 7. Do the following: (a) Describe the composition of the Sun, its relationship to other stars, and some effects of its radiation on Earth s weather and communications. (b) Define sunspots and describe some of the effects they may have on solar radiation. Use the Sun Magazine, page 4-5 to describe the composition of the sun, and sunspots. Use the Sun Magazine, page 2-3 to describe the sun's relationship to other stars. (c) Identify at least one red star, one blue star, and one yellow star (other than the Sun). Explain the meaning of these colors. Make up any missed work.

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