Reading Resources => Prereading Activities => Topic started by: Randall Sadler on March 04, 2021, 09:23:01 AM

Title: Pre-reading Activities for Potentially habitable exoplanet candidate spotted
Post by: Randall Sadler on March 04, 2021, 09:23:01 AM
Post your pre-reading activities for the article by clicking 'reply' to this post."Potentially habitable exoplanet candidate spotted around Alpha Centauri A in Earth's backyard ("

You can find during-reading and post-reading activities for this article in their own sections of the forum.
Title: Re: Pre-reading Activities for Potentially habitable exoplanet candidate spotted
Post by: npreddy on March 09, 2021, 10:38:03 AM
A helpful pre-reading activity would be to have students find the definitions of potentially troublesome words. This article contains a lot of difficult scientific vocabulary, almost requiring that students learn the vocabulary as a prerequisite to even read it. Below I will list the words and phrases I think would be difficult to guess independently, even with intuition and context clues.

Red dwarf
Tidally locked
Thermal coronagraph
Thermal fingerprint
Heat signature

Once these words are defined by students, they would move on to the reading of the article and the during reading activity.

Links to during reading and post-reading activities from my partners:
Tessa, during reading - (
Dee, post-reading - (
Title: Re: Pre-reading Activities for Potentially habitable exoplanet candidate spotted
Post by: JStreepy19 on March 09, 2021, 10:40:16 AM
We based our lesson on middle school students (middle to high intermediate).

One idea for a pre-reading activity is a matching excercise. Given the unique nature of these vocabulary terms, a written definition may not be helpful for comprehension (defining the NASA Hubble, a red dwarf, or the VLT in Chile will not help students visualize these concepts). Therefore, a pre-reading activity matching pictures to names will aid during-reading comprehension and understanding. It is already difficult to conceptualize space, but it is much more difficult when the terms all look "out of this world"! This activity could be done using the internet in partners. We can provide the words and images, and students will be asked to match the terms with their picture.

Our second idea is to include pre-reading conversation activities. We can discuss some of the following concepts:
What do we already know about astronomy and space?
Why do we care about outer space?
Why are we looking for other habitable planets? What does habitable mean?
Do you believe there is life on other planets?
These discussions can happen in small groups or as a whole class, and they will give students an opportunity to test their knowledge before reading this highly scientific article. Since this group is intermediate learners, the main focus is on vocabulary and comprehension.

 There is no character development, and we are not expecting students to "solve" NASA's problems. We want them to test their knowledge of a new topic while practicing good study habits. This is less formal than a real lesson plan, so the focus should be on student interaction with each other and with the text. This is why the pre-reading activities are one fun activity about the text, and one about their own student knowledge.

Robert will post the "during reading" ideas for our group.
Title: Re: Pre-reading Activities for Potentially habitable exoplanet candidate spotted
Post by: Mengjia Zeng on March 09, 2021, 11:37:12 AM
Our group has designed several pre-reading activities.
1. Question: When it comes to Astronomy, which words will you come up with?
In this part, students could do a jamboard activity to share their initial understanding and prior knowledge of Astronomy. Teachers could also have a good idea about students' understanding of Astronomy.
2. Teacher would present the first picture of the article ( and ask students' first impression of this picture.
3. Students will watch the two introductory videos from the article and jump into reading the article.

The following is not related to pre-reading activities, but the two videos that I found might be helpful to reading comprehension.
Here is another video I find to be interesting about Alpha Centauri System: (
And there is another video made by Science of Space, which covered a lot of information form the article. (

Sara will post the during-reading activities.
Marianne will post the post-reading activities.
Title: Re: Pre-reading Activities for Potentially habitable exoplanet candidate spotted
Post by: zaimatorres on March 09, 2021, 11:37:51 AM
Our lesson is made for middle school grades 7-8. For our pre-reading activity we will start off with displaying the star system Alpha Centauri through the app Stellarium. Using this application students will be able to see what is surrounding the star system. The title of the article will also be shown to the class and from there students will work in groups to create a chart displaying what they already know about space and any observations/predictions they have based on the title of the article and the image displayed. Students will write this information on a sheet of poster paper that will be hung up in order to have the class compare and share what they have written.

Stephanie will be posting the during-reading part and Morgan will be posting the post-reading part.