The Sky’s the Limit in GoogleSky

The LFU model consists of a three-step process which includes: motivation, knowledge construction and knowledge refinement (Edelson, 2001). If I were to design a lesson using the LFU model, I would choose a Big Idea from BC’s new curriculum grade 6 science; The solar system is part of the Milky Way, which is one of billions of galaxies.

To promote and foster motivation within the LFU model, I would either design or search online for a webquest about science. For this purpose, I have found an already made webquest using the following link:  Edelson (2001) states that within the first step of the LFU model, motivate, students need activities that require their previous knowledge on the topic presented. I would have students write questions about space they may have and post them on our “I wonder wall.” Can life exist outside of our solar system? How much would I weigh if I were on the moon? How hot does Mercury get? This allows for the student’s curiosity to set in and allows for the teacher to see where their knowledge is at the beginning of the unit.

The second step, knowledge construction, will come from the many webquest activities. What this particular webquest doesn’t have that I would incorporate into one if I did make a webquest, would be to include a space map such as GoogleSky. Closely resembling My World GIS, GoogleSky allows users to explore the universe and see constellations, planets and to zoom in on anything they want to delve deeper into. How far away is this constellation and what is it called? The students can explore their inquiry questions they came up with on the wonder wall using GoogleSky and through the webquest.

For the last step in the LFU model, the refine stage, students would be reflecting on their webquest journey. Did they find the answers to the posted questions? Did they find answers to their own inquiry questions? What could they have done differently?  They would self-assess their activities using a rubric that is on the evaluation page of the webquest. I would also include an area where they can view each other’s posts using something such as Padlet. Like Edelson (2001) states, “In addition, in the knowledge refinement stage, there is increasing evidence that application and reflection are both critically important to the development of useful knowledge” (p. 359).


Edelson, D. C. (2001). Learning‐for‐use: A framework for the design of technology‐supported inquiry activities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(3), 355-385.


  1. I like the fact that you have clearly outlined the three components of the LfU model in your lesson plan.
    I wonder how students would gather enough information to answer their inquiry questions. The webquest, while thorough, and with some great activities is fairly scripted and doesn’t seem to leave a lot of room for their own discovery.
    I can see the students really being engaged in this lesson and I like the incorporation of technology and the ability for students to flow at their own pace through the lessons.

  2. If you ever get a chance to install Minecraft on your computers you need to try out the modification called Galaxycraft. You can have your students build rockets and actually travel to different planets where they need to build colonies and survive. Topography, atmosphere, minerals day, night cycles and gravity are all built to simulate the planet you travel too, it is an amazing exploratory tool for your class that will engage and educate over an entire year!

  3. I am amazed at the new and exciting technologies that are coming out of Space Science. I have not yet discovered GoogleSky; it is a very good resource that I will definitely be using with my Science 10 class in their space unit as well.
    You may want to check out Stellarium (which can help with skymapping) and Universe Sandbox which can allow for interaction with celestial bodies.
    Thank you for your post, I do enjoy reading about how others use such systems to interact with students in their classrooms.

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