Friday, July 15, 2011

Space: A New Frontier

This week the theme was Space. What fun! The kids made this which is proudly hanging in the classroom:
This was a great project all around. The "Sun" is a wreath purchased at Dollar Tree. It was painted with yellow tempera paint and sprinkled with glitter. Lots of glitter! The planets are different sized styrofoam balls also from Dollar Tree. I purchased them last year, knowing I wanted the kids to do a mobile at some point. Much to Isabela's relief the day finally came when I said, "Yes you can open the bags with the styrofoam balls!" The kids tore different colored tissue paper. They sorted (a math skill) the planets according to size. Mercury is small, Pluto is tiny, Jupiter is huge. Then they decided what colors to do each planet. Earth is blue and green. Mars is red and Uranus is green due to the gases, Neptune is blue because the gases are different. (That's what I was told by the kids. They used problem-solving skills to come to an agreement, reasoning and deductions to come to their conclusions) The kids used big brushes to spread thinned glue onto the balls and covered them in tissue. (motor skill) We had to let the sun and the planets dry for a couple of days. (Patience) Then we used a screwdriver to put screws into each planet and someone suggested adding glue around the edge of the screw to make it extra secure. (Fine motor skill) Finally with some help from me, the silk thread was tied to each planet and I hung them from the sun as the kids called out the order. We even had a discussion about whether or not Pluto is in fact a planet. So much to learn from such a fun, simple project.

The kids also painted these:

The one above is our Solar System painted by I who is 7 years old.

This one is a star going Supernova painted by L who is 8 years old.

This one is a galaxy painted by D who is 7 years old.

The fun, exploring and learning didn't just happen while doing arts and crafts. I managed to save some pretty big boxes and the kids made a really cool spaceship! Unfortunately it was destroyed while re-entering the atmosphere. Who knew it would be raining in Oregon in July? Finally our hula hoops served as costumes. Each child pretended to be Saturn and see how fast they could make their ring spin. According to the kids, the rings around Uranus must spin faster than the rings around Saturn because it's easier to spin the hoops vertically around your arm than it is to spin horizontally around your waist. We also check out this site.

I love watching the kids get excited and love that they are eager to learn. I can't wait until next week. Stay tuned for Fairy Tales old and new.