In this fourth and fifth grade activity, students become comfortable with the concept that light-years are a measure of distance, not time, and discover how we are looking back in time when we look at stars. Since the enormous distances in space can make astronomical studies even more confusing, students explore the meaning of a light-year by first examining a unit on a smaller scale: the person-walking-week. Students determine how many kilometers a person can walk in a week and then use this unit of measurement to determine distances between cities. Once comfortable with the idea that this is a unit of distance, students then tackle the light-year and examine the stars in the Big Dipper and Orion. Using known distances to the stars, they determine when light seen today from those stars originally began its journey through space. Cross-curricular connections can then be easily made with topics in history. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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