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Pyramid Puzzles LESSON PLAN

Learning
Learning objectives
objectives: PLTS APP
strands 2–5
strand 1 (HSW)
• Astronomy and space • Recognise that • Team workers: carry • AF1 – Thinking
science provide insight modern out practical activities scientifically
into the nature and science has its cooperatively • AF5 – Working critically
observed motions of the roots in many • Creative thinkers: with evidence
Sun, Moon, stars, different link learning from
planets, and other societies and different areas of
celestial bodies. cultures. science
• Independent
enquirers: science in
a global context

Starter Differentiation Resources

• How do the Sun and stars Help • Teacher and Technician notes
move? Revise what students
know about the motion of the • Fill in the motion of • http://physics.weber.edu/schroeder/sky/S
Sun and the stars by drawing the Sun and use kyMotionApplet.html
the path of the Sun and stars the applet to show
• http://www.stellarium.org/
during the day/night. the motion of the
• Models of the motion of the stars. • Activity sheet 1
Sun/stars Show the Sky • Activity sheet 2
Motion applet or Stellarium.
Advance through one day and • http://www.londonmuseums.org/english-
one night to show the stars landmarks/Greenwich-Meridian.html
moving. In the Sky Motion
applet you can choose to add • http://www.history.com/shows/chasing-
trails to get the circles from mummies/photos/egyptian-
time-lapse photography. pyramids/photo6

• http://mathisencorollary.blogspot.co.uk/20
11_11_01_archive.html

Main Differentiation Resources

• Finding North Students use Help • Teacher and Technician Notes
two methods to find North
• Demonstrate the • Activity sheet 3
and evaluate their accuracy
finding-North
using a compass. • Practical sheet
methods and students
make sundials and • http://er.jsc.nasa.gov/SEH/sundialn.pdf
clepsydra.
Extension
• Students work out
how the watch
method works.

© Oxford University Press 2013 This resource sheet may have been changed from the original.

htm thousands of years ago. find North.com/practical-astronomy/using- measurement. measurement of to find North.com/Pyramid. and the Sun.htm • Make a model that shows the precession of the Earth’s axis.math. Learning outcomes Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Level 6 Level 7 • Identify • Use scientific • Use abstract • Use abstract • Show explicit similarities and ideas to ideas or models ideas or connections differences in describe the to describe the models to between the motion of motion of stars motion of stars explain the abstract ideas stars. stars and observations of • Use appropriate • Use appropriate the Sun.sg/aslakse measurements • Discuss the precession of the Earth’s n/gem-projects/hm/0102-1- more accurate axis so the pole star was different pyramids/page1002. Pyramid Puzzles LESSON PLAN Plenary Differentiation Resources • Finding North Discuss results and • Discuss the • http://www. of time or methods find precise measurements repeating direction. and why. Homework • Students can complete the project on pyramid alignment here: http://www. and the Sun. if required.markthompsonastronom which produces the best activities. y. equipment/polar-alignment/ • Students • Finding North by the stars – consider how • http://mydarksky. .edu.nus. planets. © Oxford University Press 2013 This resource sheet may have been changed from the original.org/2008/10/14/th demonstrate how to find Polaris using they could e-earths-wobble-precession/ Ursa Major make their • http://www. appropriate make a water reduce the • Consider the equipment to clock or take uncertainty in suitability of • Justify choice of make a water measurements measurements the chosen method used to clock or take to find North. stars and the • Select equipment to methods to Sun.science- projects. motion of and the and the Sun. • Activity sheet 4 • Alternatively – use Activity sheet 4. measurements North.

Equipment required per group: Starter • Activity sheet 1 • Activity sheet 2 Main • Activity sheet 3 • Practical o Practical sheet One per student o meter stick o stand. and clamp o plumb line (mass on a string) o two 100 g masses o piece of string approximately 1 m long o watch with hands o compass o protractor/angle measurer Health and Safety notes: • Students must use water sensibly. Hemispherical arc arrow with from left to right. Answers: 1. © Oxford University Press 2013 This resource sheet may have been changed from the original. but we do. base. The Earth spins on its axis so that it appears that the Sun moves. . End of path on the left labelled East. 4. This activity is designed to consolidate that understanding by complementing other activities based on the spinning Earth and the motion of the Earth around the Sun. A bright sky with no Sun. Alternatively they take part in a challenge to use a water clock to measure a time interval. Students investigate how Egyptians built the pyramids so that they were aligned precisely North/South. • Do not look at the Sun. They use two methods that don’t involve using a compass and compare them. 3. Starter 1 How do the Sun and stars move? Students complete the diagrams showing how the Sun moves in the sky on Activity sheet 1. South 5. and on the right labelled West. 2. Pyramid Puzzles TEACHER AND TECHNICIAN NOTES Pyramid Puzzles • How did the Egyptians find North? In learning about space students learn how the apparent motion of the stars and the Sun can be explained by the motion of the Earth. It gives a practical context for using that motion and extends their knowledge by considering the precession of the axis of the Earth.

org/ (both are free). 4. A circular path centred on Polaris.stellarium. It was important to the Egyptians that the tombs were aligned correctly so that the Pharaoh could journey into the next life.edu/schroeder/sky/SkyMotionApplet. ‘Star setting’ on the left and ‘star rising’ on the right. Answers: 1. There are references to the ‘Shadow of Ra’ in translated texts. © Oxford University Press 2013 This resource sheet may have been changed from the original. http://www. Symmetrical about centre line. but the Great Pyramid at Giza’s alignment deviates by only 3/60th of a degree.org/english-landmarks/Greenwich-Meridian. . Using the Sky Motion Applet show how the sky looks during the day and night from anywhere on Earth. Same as above.weber.com/shows/chasing-mummies/photos/egyptian- pyramids/photo6 The connection is that both are aligned North/South. The Earth spins on its axis! 2 Models of the motion of the Sun/stars For this activity you will need access to the Internet to view the Sky Motion Applet. 2. The star method – repeat readings. Answers: 1. Main 1 Students use Activity sheet 3 to work out which way is North using two low- tech methods. http://physics.html or you will need to have Stellarium installed http://www. 3.history. Pyramid Puzzles TEACHER AND TECHNICIAN NOTES Students complete Activity sheet 2. Practical: students carry out an experiment using Practical sheet 1. Same diagram as above. and the shadow method has a flat region around North. 3.html Show photographs of the pyramids such as this one: http://www. The line at Greenwich deviates from true North by 9/60th of a degree. 2. 3 London and the Pyramids – what’s the connection? Show photographs of the London Meridian Line and the diagram of the Earth showing that the Greenwich Meridian separates East and West in the same way that the Equator separates North and South.londonmuseums. which indicates that the Egyptians may have used the shadow method to find North. An arc joining dots gets close to the pole then further away.

• Alternatively use Activity sheet 4.org/2008/10/14/the-earths-wobble-precession/ This means that there was a different pole star – Thuban. . 2. They probably used the ‘latest’ methods for buildings like pyramids because they were so important. http://mydarksky. It is the star that the pole/axis of the Earth points towards. It is not possible to prove how the Egyptians did make their calculations of North. 4. if some buildings needed to change direction. More evidence is needed.edu.com/practical-astronomy/using- equipment/polar-alignment/ • The only problem is that this was not the pole star 5000 years ago. They would not be aligned North/South 3. 5.sg/aslaksen/gem- projects/hm/0102-1-pyramids/page1002.nus. There is evidence that the Egyptians used to move their buildings to that they continued to point North/South.markthompsonastronomy. An Egyptologist (Kate Spence) put forward a new theory here: http://www. No.000 years. The Earth’s axis spins like a top with a period of about 26. • Discuss how we know this – you can detect the movement over a few centuries. © Oxford University Press 2013 This resource sheet may have been changed from the original. If the direction of North as found by the stars kept moving you would need to keep moving buildings to keep them in line. Pyramid Puzzles TEACHER AND TECHNICIAN NOTES Plenary • Analysing results In the practical activity bring out the difference between precision and accuracy. 2 Finding North by the stars • Show how to find Polaris using Ursa Mayor: http://www.htm.math. Answers: 1. Yes.

Pyramid Puzzles FINDING NORTH HELP SHEET © Oxford University Press 2013 This resource sheet may have been changed from the original. .

Label East and West. 1. Explain why you have drawn the path that you have drawn. ________________________________________________________________________ 4. 3. 2. North or South? ________________________________________________________________________ 5. . Add an arrow to show the direction that it moves. In which direction are you looking. What would you see if you looked in the other direction? ________________________________________________________________________ © Oxford University Press 2013 This resource sheet may have been changed from the original. Pyramid Puzzles ACTIVITY SHEET 1 How does the Sun move? The Sun moves across the sky during the day. Draw the path of the Sun on the diagram above.

Polaris. including an arrow showing the direction. 2. . Pick one of the stars in the constellations of Ursa Major or Cassiopeia and draw what happens to it during the night if you are looking North towards the Pole Star. Label East and West. Pyramid Puzzles ACTIVITY SHEET 2 How do the stars move? 1. 4. How do the stars move during the night? Draw the path of a star on the diagram below as you look South. Explain why you have drawn the path that you have drawn. Explain why you have drawn the path that you have drawn. __________________________________________________________________________ 3. __________________________________________________________________________ © Oxford University Press 2013 This resource sheet may have been changed from the original.

A second person would put a mark on the wall of a mudbrick circle using a plumbline or merkhet. A person would use the sighting rod to find the position on the horizon where the star was rising. to find the position of stars as they rose and set. Pyramid Puzzles ACTIVITY SHEET 3 How did the Egyptians make such accurate measurements of North? 1. Label the small black dots with ‘star rising’ and ‘star setting’. In the diagram below draw dots to show what happens to the shadow throughout the day. Which method would produce the most accurate measurement of North? Explain your answer. or sighting rod. The Egyptians also used an instrument called a merkhet. The Egyptians watched the shadow made by a stick all day. They repeated this when the star set. 3. 2. ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ © Oxford University Press 2013 This resource sheet may have been changed from the original. .

Why is it called the ‘pole’ star? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ 2. You can find North using the stars. This is a diagram of the sky at the time of the Egyptians. Polaris is known as the Pole Star. what would you find if you visited the pyramids today? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ © Oxford University Press 2013 This resource sheet may have been changed from the original. Pyramid Puzzles ACTIVITY SHEET 4 Did the Egyptians use the stars to find North? 1. If the Egyptians had used the pole star as a way to find North. .

The pyramids. ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ 4. . Pyramid Puzzles ACTIVITY SHEET 4 3. use the stars? Explain your answer. Does this prove that the Egyptians did. and Tutankhamun’s tomb. There is also evidence that the Egyptians have rebuilt some buildings so that they are still in line. in fact. An Egyptologist called Kate Spence came up with a new theory in 2000. She found that there were two stars aligned very close to the direction of North. She used computer models to work out what the sky looked like at the time of the Egyptians. The pyramids are all aligned in a North–South direction. ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ © Oxford University Press 2013 This resource sheet may have been changed from the original. are all aligned correctly North–South. Do you think the Egyptians used the stars to find North? Explain your answer.

© Oxford University Press 2013 This resource sheet may have been changed from the original. How did they find North? If you want to find North you can use a compass or the GPS in your car or on your phone. 2 Take the stand and ruler outside. 3 Carry out Activity 2. and clamp • plumb line (mass on a string) • two 100 g masses • piece of string approximately 1 m long • watch with hands • compass • protractor/angle measurer Activity 1 1 Use the stand. 4 When you have finished (after 15 minutes or so) put the second 100 g mass on the tip of the shadow. Record the difference in the table below. base. Pyramid puzzles PRACTICAL SHEET Finding north The pyramids in Egypt were built so that they were on a line that was aligned North/South. Use the plumb line to make sure that it is completely vertical. Point the hour hand at the Sun. 5 Use the string to make a line between the two masses. How do you find North without a compass or GPS? You are going to find North using two methods and assess each method. Equipment Per group: • metre stick • stand. Take off the watch and put it on top of the circle in the Finding North Help Sheet. You can safely do this by holding a pencil to make a shadow and lining up the hour hand of your watch with the shadow. Put it on the ground and put one of the 100 g masses on the end of the shadow. Safety Do not look directly at the Sun at any time. Leave the sheet where it is and remove the string. Put the compass in the circle and use the protractor to measure the angle between the compass North and your North. . and clamp to clamp your metre stick. 2 DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY. Put the Finding North Help sheet under the string so that the string is over the horizontal line. Activity 2 1 Find North using a watch. base.

Which method gave the most accurate reading of north as measured with a compass? How do you know? ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Extension Find out how the watch method of finding North works. Find North using the diagram above. ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ 2. This line is running North/south. 5 Remove the watch. Put the compass in the circle and use the protractor to measure the angle between the compass North and your North. Why did the shadow move? Explain why the tip of the shadow changed in the way that it did. Results Method Difference between our North and compass North (o) Shadow Watch Questions 1. 4 Hold the watch still and rotate the sheet underneath it until the ‘your North’ arrow is pointing towards North. . Record the difference in the table below. Pyramid puzzles PRACTICAL SHEET 3 Find the direction halfway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock. © Oxford University Press 2013 This resource sheet may have been changed from the original.

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