Unschooling: Living Without School; Living Free Range-Freedom to Learn What One Wants When One Wants

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Space Exploration

We have done so many space activities! It has been an amazing learning experience. I am going to post about some of the activities we have already done and then later I will have more to add. 

We started out with a few simple activities, mostly books. Here are the ones we have read so far-that I can remember: There's No Place Like Space God Made Outer Space Every Planet Has A Place The Magic School Bus Gets Lost In Space. Then we did some coloring sheets and Samantha has painted some pictures of space in her free time. She played some online space games. And I let her watch tons of space video clips and solar system songs (Our Favorite) and episodes of the Magic School Bus that had to do with space.

As time went on, I saw her interest in space was growing and it was going to be a long term thing, so I ordered The Magic School Bus: The Secrets of Space Experiment Kit. It has definitely been worth the money and we have not even done all the activities included in it. It came with a book of experiments and everything we would need to do each one, except a battery for the small flash light. We have made a planet mobile, a telescope, a constellation box, and done some smaller things like looking at constellation cards. We also bought her a small children's telescope awhile back, which I posted about here.

Today we did a big activity. Samantha asked to go on a treasure hunt. Well...I thought about it, and I thought, "Why not a SPACE treasure hunt?!" She couldn't wait! I stayed up all night trying to find ideas on the Internet and fill in the holes where I couldn't find any ideas.

To start out our hunt, we decorated a box to be our space ship. We looked at Samantha's globe and pinpointed where we were on Earth. I gave Samantha a map I drew, and we had a paper with a clue to our first planet on it. (On the back was the answer and some facts about each one.) Instead of reading the facts off to her, we acted each one out. If it said something like, "Pluto's surface is made of ice," I would say, "It sure is COLD and slippery here! Must because of all this ice on the ground!" Etc. Sometimes we used the telescope to see things like the 31 moons on Saturn! and several other things. Samantha was able to figure each of the clues on the front of the card. I put things like, "This planet has 7 rings." or "This is the 3rd gas giant from the sun." She used a combination of her knowledge, her map, and her space poster on the back of her bedroom door. We also ran into some shootings stars, a smiley face constellation, and we had to cross over the asteroid belt a few times too! She found her treasure on the planet Mars, which was the bathroom. :) I hid it in the bath tub. Inside the box was a place mat with the solar system on it, planet stickers, one of those velvet posters to color, moon dough, and pop rocks which we called "moon rocks." It has been over and hour and she is still talking about it and playing with her moon dough on her space place mat. I definitely think that was a good idea, something fun we can do during the days with cold weather. (Although, it is pretty outside today.) I think we will continue to do things like that for other topics. (By the way, all that only cost me $5.00 and that was because I bought the prizes for the chest. Everything else was stuff around the house.)

We have so much more planned to do for this topic! Tomorrow night we are going to do GLOW WATER. We are also going to do GLOW SHAVING CREAM! I bought the highlighters and black light today. I am stoked!

We are still hoping to get to go to the newly built planetarium in our area, once they call us back with show times. They have shows specifically meant for preschoolers, and we would love to take her to one. That is something Jessie could get into with her. 

And then a few other small activities, like a sticker space poster and some flash light experiments. Some more space books. Here are a few we have on reserve at the library: Me and My Place In Space Galaxies, Galaxies! The Stars: A New Way To See Them and The Magic School Bus Sees Stars

Samantha has picked up so much so quick, and she truly understands what she is learning! I have learned a lot too! It started out with her being familiar with what planets and stars were. Then she was able to name a few planets and a few facts about them. Now she knows all their planets in their order from the sun. She can tell you a lot about each planet. She understands things like why Pluto is so cold. (Yes, we taught her about Pluto. We told her it was considered a planet, and now it is not.) She can tell you why the moon has craters, and what the asteroid belt is, what it is made of, and what it divides! She knows what the difference between the inner and outer planets is. She understands they are all different. Some have atmospheres, some don't. Some have several moons. Others have one. She just...gets it. It is in her play, and that is when I know it has become a part of her. She told me the other day that she is the sun and the cat is a planet orbiting around her. (She was standing still and the cat was walking in circles around her.) This unit has been a blast! I can't wait to see what we do next!

Clue Cards-Front
Clue Cards-Back

Each room was a planet.

Samantha's Map

Asteroid Belt
Shooting Stars

Planet Earth

Watching "Magic School Bus Sees Stars" Together

Samantha's Rocket Ship

So Excited For Blast Off!!!
Searching For Planet Jupiter
Playing With Moon Dough

Treasure Chest

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