Friday, September 19, 2008

Space Cadets

We just finished a space unit.

When I get time, I want to post some fun things we have done for different units we cover for school. For those of you who are already homeschooling, or know you will be, hopefully these posts will help. If you already homeschool, or are a teacher in public/private school, I would LOVE your favorite ideas for these units and favorite books you read to your students.

My kids all learn very differently. Hayden's ONLY method of learning is hands-on. So, I'm always on the look out for ways to teach him where he can be active, touching, painting, tapping, singing, etc.

He made a constellation book. We used glitter and sequins to make the constellations. We glued them onto black construction paper and used white crayon to draw the pictures between the stars. This was perfect for Hayden. Until Hayden touches what he's just doesn't stick in his brain.

Learning the planets...

I bought this book a couple years ago from Barnes and Noble...

I took the planet stickers and made magnets out of them for the kids to use to learn to put the planets in order. These stay on the refrigerator, and the kids line them up, several times a day while we're learning about the planets. Don't forget the asteroid belt. You can just stick some small rocks on a magnetic strip.

We've all heard the sentence, "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas." Well...Aaron made up a new sentence to help the boys learn the planets...

"My Very Evil Mother Jack Slaps Ugly Naked People."

I know...

But they love it.

This book is another favorite. I bought it. The boys can sit in the dark and see the planets, stars, etc. They love this.

One of our favorite, short fiction books is:

It makes me laugh out loud when I read it.

Anson (third grade) read this chapter book during our space unit:

Hayden (first grade) read the Commander Toad books to me. He loved Commander Toad in Space and Commander Toad and the Space Pirates.

When we do unit studies at our house, I try to totally immerse my kids in the topic during the unit. Most of you know we use the Core Knowledge Curriculum, but in addition to that, I love for there to be other things all day long that we use to learn about space.

Which means...tons of books from the library about the subject, movies we rent from Blockbuster online...some documentaries...some just plain fun.

Muppets in Space and Star Wars are great to watch during this unit.

We even went and saw Fly me to the Moon...the 3-D movie out in theaters right now. It was PERFECT! The movie was all about the first mission to the moon. We had already learned about Neil Armstrong, the Appollo 11 Mission, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, the space race between Russia and America...and this movie put in pictures everything they already knew. It was great.

We add space words as bonus words to our spelling lists.

Aaron taught the kids, God of Wonders during Family Worship. It has words in it like great!

We went to Uncle Jason and Aunt Lynsey's house to see stars while we were learning about constellations.

The kids LOVED looking through the telescope.

Today, we went to the George Bush Library's new space exhibit.

I also use Magic School Bus like nobody's business.

I can teach my face off, but that Ms. one can compete with how well this show can take words and turn them into pictures. Praise God for Magic School Bus!

Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space:

One year, I let all the Magic School Bus episodes record on our DVR for school. They are so handy!

For some reason, my husband (known for having a brain FILLED with the weirdest information) has this song he found it for the kids. They of course loved it too...just like their dad.

Other fun field trips...

The Space Center in Houston. This place is AMAZING.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science has a space exhibit (and it's right next to the zoo.)

The Houston Planetarium has tons of stuff about space.

If you have other fun space ideas, field trips, or space books your kids have liked, will you share them?

Now, it's onto Egypt.

There will be lots of "Walk Like an Egyptian" by the Bangles playing at this house over the next two weeks.


MacKenzie said...

This isn't related to space but it is related to museums. Did you know that Sept. 28th is Free Museum Day! You can download passes from the Smithsonian Magazine website which gives free entry into lots of museum.

The website has a list but there are a bunch in Houston as well as Ft Worth/Dallas. And for those of you who aren't up to traveling that far, there is always the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History. Sorry for the long comment but I thought you might be interested.

Jeanie said...


I teach Special Education - Resource in public school and I too use Core Knowledge Units. Aren't they great? I'm teaching Marathon Measurement (a 3rd grade unit) right now.

I agree with Hayden that learning should be hands on. That's what we do in my class because a) most kids learn better this way, b) it is so much more fun to teach and c)when you are keeping those hands busy doing something productive they are not busy doing something destructive.

Of course math and science are so easy to teach hands on. I had a harder time at first with Reading but now I have tons of fun ideas. I also have catalogs that contain every kind of manipulative you could imagine.

One thing I'm doing this year in Reading that you could easily incorporate (since you just taught space) is having students identify setting by planet, continent, country, state, city and specific locale.

Have ya'll been to the McDonald Observatory outside of Fort Davis?