Student Mode

Spaceship Earth    Unit Starter

Thumbnail unitstarter spaceshipearth

Star Trails

Download this Mystery to your device so you can play it offline: Download Mystery
Beginning Exploration (1 of 10)

Check out this picture of the night sky.

DISCUSS: What do you notice? How would you describe the stars?

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen
Beginning Exploration (2 of 10)

This photograph captures a moment in time--maybe a second or two. The camera’s shutter opened and closed quickly, letting in a little light.

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen
Beginning Exploration (3 of 10)

Here’s another photo of the stars.

DISCUSS: What do you notice?

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen
Beginning Exploration (4 of 10)
To make a photo like this, the camera’s shutter stayed open for 3 hours. Check out this sped up video of a similar photo.
Full Screen
Exit full screen whiteExit Full Screen
Beginning Exploration (5 of 10)

Get a See-Think-Wonder chart to record your ideas.

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen
Beginning Exploration (6 of 10)

THINK-PAIR-SHARE:

  • What do you observe in this photo of the night sky?
  • Do you notice any patterns?

Record your answers in the SEE column of your chart.

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen
Beginning Exploration (7 of 10)

THINK-PAIR-SHARE:

  • Why do you think there are bright streaks in the sky, rather than stars?

Record your answers in the THINK column of your chart.

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen
Beginning Exploration (8 of 10)

THINK-PAIR-SHARE:

  • What else do you wonder about this picture?

Record your answers in the WONDER column of your chart.

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen
Beginning Activity Prep

For thousands of years, astronomers have observed the night sky and tried to explain what they saw.

In this activity, you’ll start with this photo of the sky and figure out what causes the streaks you see. Like astronomers before you, you’ll create a model that helps you explain what you see in the sky. After each Mystery, you'll add to or change your model as you get new ideas.

We'll walk you through it, step by step.

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen

Star Trails Model

Before starting this lesson, review the unit Teacher Guide which gives an overview of the Spaceship Earth Anchor Layer.

In the Unit Starter, students are introduced to the unit anchoring phenomenon, star trails photography. In the activity, they create an initial conceptual model to explain how the star trails patterns are created. Students will re-visit their model after each Mystery to add new information to it.

It is important to encourage students to recognize that even if they don't know the full answer yet, they are going to learn a lot throughout the unit to help them explain the phenomenon and that they'll have an opportunity to change or add to their first model.

Step 1: Set up your classroom Set up your classroom by creating a class "See-Think-Wonder" chart (the student version is linked below). We recommend using chart paper, or a space on your board that won't be erased since you will revisit it throughout the unit.

Step 2: Print out worksheets Each student needs a:

Beginning Activity: Star Trails Model

Reveal answer

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen
Beginning Activity: Star Trails Model

Reveal answer

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen
Beginning Activity: Star Trails Model

Reveal answer

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen
Beginning Activity: Star Trails Model

Reveal answer

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen
Beginning Activity: Star Trails Model

Reveal answer

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen
Beginning Activity: Star Trails Model

Reveal answer

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen
Beginning Exploration (9 of 10)

Conceptual Model

Models are used by scientists to understand and explain something. A model is revised, or changed, as new information is learned.

There are many types of models, but you just finished creating a conceptual model.

A conceptual model helps scientists explain things that they can't see. After each Mystery, you will add the new things you've learned to your model.

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen
Beginning Exploration (10 of 10)

You've completed the Unit Starter!

Be sure to keep each student's Star Trails Model accessible. They will use it after each Mystery in the Unit Connection.

Teach Mystery 1 next: Why does the sun rise and set?

Full Screen
Exit full screen blackExit Full Screen

Image & Video Credits

Mystery Science respects the intellectual property rights of the owners of visual assets. We make every effort to use images and videos under appropriate licenses from the owner or by reaching out to the owner to get explicit permission. If you are the owner of a visual and believe we are using it without permission, please contact us—we will reply promptly and make things right.

Other