Connecticut Content Standard 10: The Universe

Students will understand that the Earth is a unique, dynamic member of the solar system, located in a galaxy within a changing universe.

Grades K - 4

Educational experiences in Grades K - 4 will assure that students:

  • recognize (in Grades K-2) that there are more stars in the sky than anyone can easily count, they are randomly distributed, and they vary in brightness or color;
  • understand (in Grades K-2) that the sun can be seen only in the daytime, but the moon can be seen sometimes at night and sometimes during the day;
  • know (in Grades K-2) that the sun, moon and stars all appear to move slowly across the sky;
  • describe (in Grades K-2) how the moon looks a little different every day, but looks the same about every four weeks;
  • describe (in Grades K-2) how the astronauts use spacecraft for travel and how some astronauts have even traveled to the moon and back;
  • know that the patterns of stars in the sky appear to stay the same, although they appear to move across the sky nightly, and different star patterns (constellations) can be seen in different seasons;
  • understand that telescopes magnify the appearance of the moon, the planets and stars;
  • know that the Earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun, and that the moon orbits the Earth;
  • know that stars are like the sun, some being smaller and some larger, but they are at such great distances that they look like points of light;
  • recognize that the rotation of the Earth on its axis every 24 hours produces the night-and-day cycle; and
  • recognize that information and photographs from orbiting spacecraft have added to our knowledge of the Earth and the universe.

Grades 5 - 8

Educational experiences in Grades 5 - 8 will assure that students:

  • understand that, to people living on the Earth, the 24-hour period of rotation of the Earth makes it seem as though the sun, moon, planets and stars are orbiting the Earth once a day;
  • recognize that the sun is a medium-sized star located near the edge of a disk-shaped galaxy of stars, that the universe contains many millions of galaxies, and that each galaxy contains many billions of stars;
  • describe the solar system as consisting of nine planets, different in size, composition and surface features, which all revolve around the sun in elliptical orbits;
  • understand that the moon’s orbit around the Earth changes how much of the lighted portion of the moon can be seen from the Earth;
  • realize that the planets change their positions against the background of stars;
  • recognize that the mutual gravitational attraction of the Earth, moon and sun produces the ocean’s tides; and
  • understand that many artificial satellites now orbit the Earth and are used for a variety of purposes.

Grades 9 - 12

Educational experiences in Grades 9 - 12 will assure that students:

  • understand that the stars differ from each other in size, temperature and age, but they appear to be made up of the same elements that are found on the Earth and appear to behave according to the same physical principles;
  • state that on the basis of scientific evidence, the universe is expanding and is estimated to be well over 15 billion years old;
  • describe how increasingly sophisticated technology is used to learn about the universe (e.g., visual, radio and X-ray telescopes);
  • understand that mathematical models and computer simulations are used in studying evidence from many sources in order to form a more comprehensive scientific account of the universe;
  • recognize that orbiting instruments, such as the Hubble telescope, provide information about the universe that could not be gathered from the Earth’s surface;
  • recognize that the solar system is part of a constantly changing universe in which stars are born, change and die; and
  • understand that light from a star takes a very long time to reach the Earth and is actually a representation of its past location.


The following GEMS Guides address this Standard:

Moons of Jupiter Grades 4-8

Earth, Moon and Stars
Grades 5-8

Messages From Space
Grades 6-8

Color Analyzers
Grades 5-8

The Real Reasons for Seasons
Grades 6-8

Invisible Universe
Grades 6-8

Living with a Star
Grades 6-8

More Than Magnifiers
Grades 6-8

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