Literary Sparks: Science, Grade 1


LAFS.1.RI.2.4   Ask & answer questions to help determine/clarify the meaning of words and phrases in a text.

LAFS.1.RI.3.9 Identify basic similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic.

LAFS.1.SL.1.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about Grade One topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

  1. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions
  2. Build on others’ talk in conversations by responding to the comments of others through multiple exchanges.
  3. Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion.


SC.1.E.5.1 Observe and discuss that there are more stars in the sky than anyone can easily count and that they are not scattered evenly in the sky.

SC.1.E.5.3: Investigate how magnifiers make things appear bigger and help people see things they could not see without them.

Big Idea: Earth in Space and Time 

Humans continue to explore Earth's place in space. Gravity and energy influence the formation of galaxies, including our own Milky Way Galaxy, stars, the Solar System, and Earth. Humankind's need to explore continues to lead to the development of knowledge and understanding of our Solar System.


The Lost Stars

By Hannah Cumming


The book Lost Stars by Hannah cumming at the Jacksonville Public Library

When people become too busy to look up at the stars, the stars get fed up and take a vacation.  One day, when the lights go out, the people of the city are alarmed to discover that there are no longer lights in the sky.  A small group goes on a quest to find them.

#Literary Sparks

  1. On pp. 1-2, is it daytime or nighttime? How can you tell?
  2. On pp. 2-4, look in the windows of the buildings. What are people doing? (answers will vary, but adults are working on phones & computers, at the school, kids are on laptops, in apartment, people are using tablets, watching movies, on phones, watching TV, etc.)
  3. On p. 6, why can’t the little boy see anything?
  4. Why do the stars take a break? Do you agree with them? Why or why not?
  5. Why do you think it was hard for the people to find the stars?
  6. Will you forget the stars or take time to go look at them in the sky at night?


Our Stars

By Anne Rockwell

Call Number: Y 523.8 ROCKWELL

The book Our Stars by Anne Rockwell at the Jacksonville Public Library

Scientists use telescopes and satellites to study the stars. But even though they're far away, stars are part of your world, too! Just lift up your eyes to see.

Every night many twinkling stars appear in the wide sky. From the Earth below, we can see the glowing moon, and sometimes even a bright meteor shooting through space. With gentle text and luminous watercolors, Anne Rockwell brings the distant heavens a little closer.

#Informational Sparks

  1. On pp. 1-3, point out that there are billions of stars in the sky, too many to count! Show what stars are made of and that our sun is a star. Does the sun look like the stars in The Lost Star? Why/why not?
  2. On. p. 4, the boy and his dad are using a telescope to see the stars that are far away. What does the telescope do to help?
  3. On p. 20, point out that there is a big telescope to see the stars, and that the universe is so big that we’ll always have things to study and learn. How long do you think stars will be in the sky?

#Investigative Inquiry

Experimenting with Magnifiers and Making a Telescope

Learning Outcomes Statement:

Students will learn, through hands on experimentation, that magnifiers make small objects appear bigger. This makes them easier to study and learn about. Likewise, that telescopes make far away objects seem closer and easier to see. Students will also learn about exploring the night skies with telescopes, and will make a simple (non-magnifying) telescope. Students will be encouraged to participate in after-school activities to observe the night sky.

Materials Needed:

  • Magnifiers
  • Small items, like a dried pea, tiny flowers, coins, etc.
  • Paper & Pencils

For Telescope

  • Paper towel tubes (one per student)
  • Cardstock (one 8.5” x 11” sheet per student)
  • Washi Tape
  • Assorted stickers (planets, stars, etc.)
  • Markers

Additional Library Resources/Materials to Share:

Y 520 GIBBONS Stargazers by Gail Gibbons

Y 523.8 GOLDSTEIN Stars by Margaret J. Goldstein

Y 523.8 NICOLSON Discover the Stars by Cynthia Pratt Nicolson

Y 523.8 RAJCZAK 20 Fun Facts About Stars by Kristen Rajczak

Y 523.8 TOMECEK Stars by Steve Tomecek

Y 523.8 ZAPPA Constellations by Marcia Zappa

372.35044 SKILL Skill Sharpeners, Science, Grade 1 by Guadalupe Lopez

372.6044 ROCKWELL Linking Language: Simple Language and Literacy Activities Throughout the Curriculum,

     By Robert Rockwell

507.8 CITRO The Curious Kid’s Science Book: 100+ Creative Hands-On Activities for Ages 4-8 by Asia Citro

Notes for Introduction:

Please be good listeners, as you will need to pay attention to make sure you understand what we’re doing. First, we are going to experiment with magnifiers. Magnifiers make things that are very small appear larger so that we can see them better. They also make things that are far away (like stars) appear closer so we can see them better. Then, we will be making our own telescopes to look at the stars!

Activity Description:

We are going to use our magnifiers to observe how they make small things bigger. First, look at the item with just your eyes. Write down what you see (describe what it looks like). Then, look at the item with the magnifier. Now, what do you see? Write down the description. Then, write down the differences between seeing the item with your eyes and seeing it with the magnifier. The magnifier allows us to see things we could not see with just our eyes!

Telescopes work like magnifiers. They make things that are far away look closer, so we can see them better. Our telescopes will not make things bigger, because they do not have a magnifying lens in them, but, they will allow you to focus on one object.

To make our telescopes, first we will decorate the piece of cardstock with stickers and markers. Then we will loosely tape the cardstock around the paper towel tube with washi tape. Pull on the tube to make the telescope longer. Look through your telescope and see how it narrows down what you can see. Look around the room and pick out things to view with your telescope.

Extension Activities

These would have to be done outside of school time, in order to observe the night sky. The following link to NASA has several guides to follow current astronomical activities, including those involving the moon, planets, and meteor showers.

Questions for Feedback and Reflection:

  1. What did we learn about magnifiers? That they make small things appear larger
  2. What did we learn about telescopes? That they make far away things appear closer
  3. Do stars really have five points? What are they made of? No. Stars are made up of fiery gas that gives of brilliant light that we can see “shining” in the night sky.
  4. Can we count all the stars in the sky? Are they in one big group or scattered all over the sky? There are too many stars to count! They are scattered all over.
  5. What does all the light in our everyday world do to the night sky? Is it easier or harder to see the stars? When there are lots of lights on at night (like in a city), it’s harder to see the stars. When we go places where there isn’t a lot of light at night (like the country), it’s much easier to see the stars.
  6. What do you look for when you look at the night sky? (planets, moon, stars, meteor showers, etc.)?


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#Science Sparks Content

Kids Info Bits

National Geographic Kids

Science in Context

General Science Collection

National Geographic Virtual Library  

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