Physical Science Unit 3: We Are Stardust

Course Goals:

  • To develop your understanding of the nature of science as it pertains to the physical world.
  • To understand and describe, qualitatively and quantitatively, the nature of matter and apply your understanding to natural phenomena you observe
  • To experience the engineering design process and demonstrate the interrelationship with science.

Course Essential Questions

  • How might scientific inquiry be used to investigation the natural world?
  • How can I use my experience in science to learn to think and communicate clearly, logically, and critically in preparation for college and a career?
  • How can I best assess my own learning and progress?
  • How can I use technology in my learning and become a better digital citizen?
  • How can I think more divergently, creatively, and innovatively as a scientist?
Unit Driving Questions
  1. How do I distinguish claims and scientific evidence?
  2. How can I evaluate and use scientific evidence to inform my thinking?
  3. How can I use size and scale to describe objects such as subatomic particles and the universe?


  1. A claim is a statement that needs evidence to support it.
  2. Evidence can be data collected in lab or obtained from another source. 
  3. Reasoning is a scientific explanation of how evidence supports a claim. 
Learning Targets:

Students will be able to.....

  1. Evaluate the scientific validity of information on the Internet and use this learning to evaluate print and media sources as well.
Academic Vocabulary: Bricks Academic Vocabulary: Mortar
  • solar system
  • planet
  • scientific notation
  • astronomical unit
  • conversion factor
  • dimensional analysis
  • meter
  • gram
  • liter
  • kilo-
  • centi-
  • milli-
  • micro-
  • nano-
  • Theory
  • law
  • claim
  • evidence
  • hypothesis
  • observation
  • belief
  • fact
  • opinion
  • proof
  • size
  • scale
  • unit (of measure)

 More academic vocabulary: Bricks


More academic vocabulary: mortar


Daily Learning Activities

Day 1  
Tuesday, Feb 7

Driving Question: Where are we, in the bigger scheme of things? Why is this important? 

  • Video: Wanderers, from Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot
  • Where are we? Card sort and discussion
    • students make notes of classmates comments for later use 
  • Really BIG numbers, and how to write them
  • Scale of the universe website
Day 2
Thursday, Feb 9

Driving Question: In what ways can we write really large numbers, and how can knowing how to write large numbers be helpful?

Numbers, Big and Small - Cornell notes
Scale of the Universe Website 
Really big numbers..... scientific notation
Day 3
Monday, Feb 13

Driving Question: Driving Question: What are the steps to use to most easily and correctly convert between units of measure?In class today:

  • Check scientific notation HW
  • Scientific notation for very small numbers
  • Conversion Factors using universe measurements
  • Dimensional Analysis, and practice

Day 4 Wednesday Feb 15 

 Day 19 

Nov 3

Driving Question: Where and how does the Earth get energy? What happens to the energy once it hits Earth? Explain. 

  • Quiz: Experimental Design
  • Revisit Earth-Sun radiation activity - graph paper and phone flashlights; radiation demo
  • The Earth's Energy Budget
    • Equilibrium demo
  • What I know so far: respond to the driving question for today
  • Begin concept map: Day 1 terms

Day 20

Nov 7

Day 37 
Jan 18

Wedge station activity

  • Report back to home group.
Day 38 
Jan 20
  Wedge Station activity: 
Day 39 
Jan 24
Website Completion - mitigation and Driving Questions
Day 40 
Jan 26
Day 41 
Jan 30
Day 42 
Feb 2

                         Next Generation Science Standards:

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