Saturday, February 11, 2012

Stars & Planets

We have finally finished up our space unit. It lasted 3 weeks, and I am not going to lie... I am all spaced out!!! I do not have all that much to post, but here are just a couple of photos I snapped...

We spent a couple of days learning about stars and constellations, and the kids LOVED it! We read a several books and looked up photos of stars and nebulas online. So cool! After we learned about stars, the kids got to make themselves as a constellation! They wrote four facts about stars, too (one on each star).

{I do not know why this one won't rotate for me. Sorry!!}

When learning about the planets, we focused first on the rock planets, then on the gas giants. We did a LOT of reading, but the kids loved it. They have been soooo into learning about the planets, and I love it! After we learned about each planet, I recorded our facts on some planet anchor charts (sorry, no photo!) Then at the end of the week, the kids made a flip book; one page per planet. They colored a picture of each planet and wrote 2-3 interesting facts about each.

Amy and I did this Pinterest inspired activity on Friday. This was seriously an AWESOME activity!! First, we had our kiddos estimate where they thought the planets would be in comparison to the Sun and each other...

Then we reviewed the real distance for each planet and whipped out the toilet paper!!! This activity was GREAT for ballpark estimates! Here are the measurements I found on google that we used. Each square of toilet paper is equal to 9 or 10 million miles.

Mercury: 36 million miles away, 4 squares.
Venus: 67 million miles away, 7 squares.
Earth: 93 million miles away, 10 squares.
Mars: 141 million miles, 15 squares.
Jupiter: 484 million miles away, 52 squares.
Saturn: 886 million miles away, 95 squares.
Uranus: 1.8 billion miles away, 192 squares.
Neptune: 2.8 billion miles away, 301 squares.

{That's the view from Uranus... Neptune was even further back a good 25 feet!!!}

The kids were AMAZED and so excited!! I think it really put it into perspective for them just how far the planets are from the Sun and from each other. I loved, loved, LOVED this activity! I would recommend doing it with another teacher, and possibly having one or two extra adults to help (we were lucky our ELL teacher just happened to be there, and she helped out a lot!) It took about 30 minutes, but could have gone longer, easily!!

Can't wait to see what everyone is doing for Valentine's day and Presidents day!!! Happy weekend :)

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