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What’s Out There? A True or False Book about the Universe

School: Conservatory Lab Charter School

City/State: Dorchester, MA

Grade(s): 4

Format(s): Book: Nonfiction/Informational, Children's book

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Science and Technology, Visual Arts

Project Overview

Fourth grade students at the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Dorchester, Massachusetts created this book as part of an expedition on the Solar System and beyond as they grappled with questions about the universe.

The expedition began with a study of the planet Earth and Earth’s only satellite, the moon. They kept moon journals and studied the phases of the moon. They also wrote their own moon myths. As they studied and researched, they listened to musical scores from planet-related works such as The Planets Suite by Gustav Holst, and discussed how the music represented each planet. Fieldwork was conducted at the Charles Hayden Planetarium in the Museum of Science.

Students examined true-or-false books to learn the elements that make up a high-quality work. They looked closely at the formatting and learned how to write strong statements. They took notes on what they learned and then worked on creating drafts. They created illustrations for the book using oil pastels. An expert artist from the Museum of Fine Arts critiqued their drawings. Finally they checked their facts using multiple written sources and worked with a science specialist for a final fact check to be sure that readers would receive the right information.

The final product is a visually attractive paperback book of forty-six pages, arranged in an interactive true/false format. The book also includes a glossary and will soon be available for purchase on the school’s website at

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Demonstrates a format in which individual work can be assessed
  • Beautifully formatted with a thoughtful, professional-quality layout that combines text and graphics
  • Highlights a unique way to present information using an interactive true/false format
  • Excellent example of an interdisciplinary writing/art/science project

Relevant Resources

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can accurately synthesize information from two texts on the same topic.
  • I can write informative/explanatory texts that convey ideas and information clearly.
  • I can produce writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
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