• 9 Weeks of Organized Lessons

    Imagine that instead of scouring the web for labs and projects, you had a complete nine-week experience that focused on middle school NGSS performance expectations.

  • Integrated Storyline

    The unifying theme as an amateur astronomer is carried throughout the project and gives students the opportunity to integrate their learning with real-world experiences.

  • Three-dimensional Learning

    Activities feature specific cross-cutting concepts and science & engineering practices which support the disciplinary core ideas (DCI).

DARK - an NGSS Unit on the Sky


Welcome to DARK. This is an NGSS unit that integrates a storyline and projects with existing Kesler Science inquiry labs, station labs, and 5E Lessons. In this unit, students will become members of the fictitious Amateur Astronomer's Conservation Society. They will explore phenomena created by the interaction of our planet with the Sun and Moon, then work to save our skies from human impact such as light pollution and greenhouse gases.

Included in this unit:

- unit overview
- day-by-day teacher instructions
- five station labs
- six inquiry labs
- 5E PowerPoint explanations with INB templates
- four unit projects
- video training for teachers and video introduction for students
- student activity pages
- project-based and traditional assessments
- rubrics for feedback and standards-based grading
- journaling/synthesis activities

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DARK - an NGSS Unit on the Sky

Course curriculum

  • 1
    Getting Started and Teacher Directions
    • Getting Started Video - Teacher Directions Introduction (online or download)
    • Getting Started Video - Weekly Lesson Overview (online or download)
    • DARK - Teacher Directions (PPT and PDF)
  • 2
    Week 1
    • DARK - Week One Presentation and Handouts
    • DARK Introduction Video (view online)
    • DARK Introduction video (download only)
    • Seasons Station Lab
    • Seasons Inquiry Lab
  • 3
    Week 2
    • DARK - Week Two Presentation and Handouts
    • Explanation - Seasons PPT & INBs (Digital & Print)
    • Lunar Cycle Station Lab
    • Lunar Phases Inquiry Lab
  • 4
    Week 3
    • DARK - Week Three Presentation and Handouts
    • Explanation - Lunar Cycle PPT & INBs (Digital & Print)
    • Membership Project
  • 5
    Week 4
    • DARK - Week Four Presentation and Handouts
    • Eclipses Station Lab
    • Explanation - Eclipses PPT & INBs (Digital & Print)
    • Eclipses Inquiry Lab
  • 6
    Week 5
    • DARK - Week Five Presentation and Handouts
    • Lunar Eclipse Project
    • Atmosphere Station Lab
  • 7
    Week 6
    • DARK - Week Six Presentation and Handouts
    • Explanation - Atmosphere PPT & INBs (Digital & Print)
    • Atmosphere Inquiry Lab
    • Visible Light Station Lab
  • 8
    Week 7
    • DARK - Week Seven Presentation and Handouts
    • Iceland Project
  • 9
    Week 8
    • DARK - Week Eight Presentation and Handouts
    • Human Impact on Natural Resources Inquiry Lab
    • Explanation - Short and Long Term Environmental Impacts PPT & INBs (Digital & Print)
    • Greenhouse Effect Inquiry Lab
  • 10
    Week 9
    • DARK - Week Nine Presentation and Handouts
    • Clear Skies Project
    • Wrap/Assess

Standards and Performance Expectations

These standards are also supported by cross-cutting concepts and science and engineering practices.

  • MS-PS1-1 - Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.

  • MS-PS1-2 - Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.

  • MS-PS1-5 - Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.

  • MS-PS3-4 - Plan an investigation to determine the relationships among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample.

  • MS-LS1-8 - Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories. 

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