Universe Cycle - The Search for Our Beginning
by J.R. Blueford Ph.D.   









(1 week)

Comparing Distance in Space

Light in the Universe

Stars and Constellations

Components of Galaxies

Comparing Galaxies

Components of the Universe

Astronomy and Astrology

Solar System
(1 week)

Comparing Planets

Surface of the Moon

Identifying Planets

Earth Movements


Comparing Planets

Movement of the Earth

(1 week)

Modeling the Earth

Rotation of the Earth 

Examining the Earth's Surface

Comparing Landforms

Earth/Moon System

Forces of Erosion

Landform Evolution

(1 week)

Land and Water

Learning Geographic Relief

Making Maps

Use of Maps

Interpretations of Maps

Mapping Relief

Uses of Maps

The Universe Cycle helps explain how the Universe and Solar System was formed. Students learn that there are many theories on how the Universe was created. Atoms of hydrogen (the simplest element) probably were floating around each other, and they collided (either with a bang or a whimper) and formed stars. Star formation led the way for planet formation probably by accretion. Our planets formed to revolve around one star, the Sun. The characteristics of each planet depend on how close they were to the Sun; how fast it spins; and how their internal engines work.

Hands-on activities teach students about the facts and fantasies of the Universe. They look at the Universe and its components of galaxies and nebulas. Students then look at our Solar System. They trace movements and compare and contrast the planets. The Earth is a planet as it spins with its satellite, the Moon. Students will take a close look at the Earth and its relationship within the Solar System. Geographic locations, reading maps and learning how to plot data are also explored.

Universe - Students can look up and realize that everything is called the Universe. The universe is not understood, but is fascinating to think about.

Solar System - Students learn that the solar system is a subset of the Universe and is part of our Earthly history. They compare and contrast the planets and learn that we don't know everything about our planets.

Earth - Allows students to picture the Earth as a rotating and revolving sphere in space. Students will realize that the Earth has unique features.

Geography - Although this is not science, it provides that template which we record data from different fields of science. Learning to locate oneself is a skill needed not only in science but for general living.

Plate Tectonics Cycle - Earth's Moving Force