St. Louis In Depth Study: Astronomy


If you ever want to construct your own unit study, Calendar Connections is a great jumping off point for some topics. I used their Astronomy packet as a way to get organized and figure out what I wanted to spend a lot of time on and what I wanted to barely touch on. They make a card for each day in the month that you can print out and either put into a calendar or throw them into some sort of grab bag.  Build on these fun daily facts however you see fit. I pick out story books, writing prompts, art projects, experiments and videos that are relevant to each daily fact and work them into our regular day. 

 

Books:

A Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky by Michael Driscoll

I, Gallileo by Bonnie Christensen

Maria’s Comet by Deborah Hopkinson

If You Decide to go to the Moon by Faith McNulty

Time for Kids X-WHY-Z Space (great for independent reading time)

 

Craft Ideas:

  • Cut out a variety of geometric shapes in different colors and have them build a rocket ship out of the shapes and write about their ship; Why did they build it that way? What is inside of the rocket ship? What would you bring with you on the rocket if you were going on a space mission?
  • Cut out circles from small to large and put them together with a brad to help remember the order of the planets from the sun. 
  • Make the different galaxy shapes with glitter glued in the right shape onto black paper
  • Spend time role playing as the sun, earth and moon to understand day/night, the seasons and the difference between rotation and revolution.

Writing Ideas:

  • If you were an astronomer, what would you want to discover about outer space and why? (It can be something already known, or it can be an answer to a question that we don’t know yet).
  • You are going about your normal day when you find yourself standing in the middle of bright lights and then you are knocked out. When you wake up, you are laying on a table in what looks like a rocket ship. What happens?
  • You have been on your space mission for a few weeks now. What has happened to you on your mission? What have you missed most about Earth? What souvenirs are you bringing back with you?
  • If there was life on another planet, what planet would it be on and what would it look and act like?
  • Make up your own way to remember the order of the planets

Videos

  • Novascience Now “What’s it like to be an astronaut?” There are so many videos of astronauts in space on YouTube, we had to drag ourselves away from them after a couple of hours, it truly is so entertaining.
  • Magic School Bus episodes on Space and Asteroids
  • StoryBots songs on YouTube: The planets, the sun, the moon, the earth, the stars.

Field Trip: The St. Louis Science Center

      There is a huge area dedicated to astronomy at the St. Louis Science Center.  There are exhibits on exploration of Mars and life as an astronaut. We saw the “Live Sky Tonight show” at the planetarium, which was all about the stars and constellations that would be visible in this area at this time of year. We all enjoyed the show, mostly because it was interactive.  My kids loved shouting out the answers to his questions if they knew them; it really kept them paying attention and on their toes.  You could sit in fold up chairs or get a mat and lay on the floor.