PRE-VISIT ACTIVITIES

REVIEW THE GLOSSARY WITH THE STUDENTS.
Assign one term per student or group of students. Have them create an illustration for the definition. Show the class the illustrations. Have them write down on a piece of paper the term that goes with each one. Make a class book out of the illustrations. View Glossary of Terms PDF FIle >>
REVIEW THIRD-GRADE STANDARDS WITH THE STUDENTS.
The Griffith Observatory field trip program assumes students are already familiar with concepts described in the third-grade standards. A review of that material will help students engage with the field trip program. Match up your fifth-graders with third-grade “buddies.” Give them the list of the third-grade Science Content Standards and have them each choose one and design an activity for their third-grade buddy or the whole class.

View the California Content Standards at this link: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/documents/sciencestnd.pdf

DO ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES:

A. BE A SPACECRAFT AND EXPLORE THE SOLAR SYSTEM
Have students look up the properties of each of the eight planets plus Pluto, including their size, distance from the Sun, and a few facts about them. Write down the information for each planet on index cards in preparation for your visit to Griffith Observatory. Identify space missions that have visited each planet. Did the spacecraft fly by, orbit or land? When? What mission has gone the farthest? What was the first mission to land on another planet? Write down the information for each spacecraft on index cards in preparation for your visit to Griffith Observatory, and use the cards in the Solar System Lawn Model activity by re-enacting the historical sequence of solar system exploration (View more detailed information on our Outside Activities >> page).
B. WANTED: ELEMENTS FROM THE PERIODIC TABLE
After learning about the periodic table, each student chooses an element and creates a WANTED poster that describes the properties of that element but not the element’s name. Each student presents the poster to the class, and students try to identify the element from the information provided on the WANTED poster.
C. MOVEMENT OF THE SUN
To show students that the position of the Sun changes from season to season, choose a classroom window or a place on the playground where students can observe and mark where the Sun is in the sky over the course of one day. Then, do the same thing at the same time each day throughout the year. Mark the place every two weeks for several months or the whole school year.
D. MONUMENTAL ASTRONOMERS
Introduce students to some of the greatest astronomers of all time. Divide the students into groups and have them choose one of the six astronomers depicted on the Astronomers Monument at Griffith Observatory (see Outside Activities >>) and portray the famous astronomer for the other students. Have the class guess which astronomer each group is playing.
E. JUST ADD WATER
Discuss the water cycle and give examples that indicate where each part can be found in California. Review where Los Angeles gets its drinking water and brainstorm strategies to save water.