Monday, January 16, 2012

Astronomy for Kids Unit Study

Space, Astronomy, and Constellations were always some of my favorite subjects growing up in science class.  I love that this year we get to hit on them again with the 5th grade state standards here.   We started off by doing a unit study on the planets using lots of supplemental material from the library and the cute videos on Brainpop.  For each planet my daughter filled out a worksheet with a drawing of the planet and the key facts about it.  We used worksheets from the curriculum R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Earth and Space.
When we started our unit on Astronomy and Constellations I wanted to get away from the cookie cutter worksheets and do more journal work and projects.  We are still using some videos from Brainpop {we love that site!} as well as tons of books from the library.
I asked my daughter to pick three of her favorite books from the huge stack we brought home from the library last week.  Here are her top three picks:
She is also reading a chapter a day out of: Magic Tree House's Research Guide Space.  She loves that book and finds all the facts and the way it is presented really fun.
Remember this journal from my previous post?  :) This is the journal we are using for our journal work for  this unit study.  I find that for a left handed child, composition notebooks work best for her instead of the traditional spiral ones.
To introduce this subject to her we did some reading and charting of the constellation for her zodiac sign.
The second page shows how we would see the constellation {minus the lines :) } with our naked eye.  I had Victoria add some fast facts about the constellation as well.  These first two page were just and introduction so she would know what it was we would be working on over the next few weeks.
Now we are going to be working our way through Janice VanCleave's Constellations For Every Kid Book as well as using lots of supplemental books.  I love her books because they not only provide great information but they have questions for the child to answer, diagrams, and lots of fun activities too.  I wish when I was growing up I had this book, but even as an adult I am having fun with it as well. :)
Chapter 1: Night Lights
This chapter included some great reading material to teach the lesson as well as some questions based on the reading material.  She put the diagrams into her journal and then I had her answer the questions that went them.
The lessons can be short and sweet but also expanded into a longer lesson with extra supplemental material.  As we make our way through this book I will post some more of the experiments and journal work that Victoria is doing.  I love making learning fun and not just textbook based.  Sometimes I feel like if a child can sit and really get their hands into what  they are doing with activities and hands on learning, they can just grasp it so much stronger.  :)

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