These activities are a part of a series of posts about Astronomy and Astronauts. This moon and stars unit study is for a Charlotte Mason style family morning basket. Each weekly theme has three posts with activities for Primary (preschool to 2nd grade), Intermediate (3rd to 5th grade), and Secondary (6th grade and up). There are four weekly themes for this Astronomy and Astronauts unit study:
Rockets and Space Shuttles: Primary, Intermediate, Secondary
Astronauts : Primary, Intermediate, Secondary
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Science and History Living Books
Smithsonian Eyewitness Explorer Night Sky Detective by DK Children is a fabulous choice for homeschool families wanting to learn about astronomy–and it’s a great addition to your home library. This book is filled with 30 hands-on activities that explore the night sky, constellations, stars, sundials and more. This week, I suggest reading pages 4-7, 18-25, and 44-53. There are activities on each page spread for hands on learning. We enjoyed A Lunar Calendar, Moon Shadows, and Compass Stars.
Along Came Galileo by Jeanne Bendick is an easy to read (and inexpensive) book for intermediate students that you will want for your home library. This book contains an extensive history of Galileo and his research in astronomy, philosophy, engineering, and physics. Published by Beautiful Feet Books, you’ll find it more readily directly from the publisher or a homeschool catalog, such as Rainbow Resource.
Reading Comprehension & Science Facts
Use this Galileo notebooking page from HomeschoolHelperOnline.com to record what you learned about Galileo’s life after reading Along Came Galileo.
Want to check your student’s reading comprehension or pick out some facts for memorization? Then use this intermediate level worksheet from my free resource library after your students read The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons or a similar title with facts about the moon.
Galileo and the Stargazers as written and told by Jim Weiss audio book also includes the story Archimedes and the Golden Crown. Who doesn’t love Jim Weiss’ storytelling? Both of these stories contain an abundance of facts along with humorous notes. This audio book can usually be found at your local library.
The Animated Hero Classics: Galileo DVD by Nest Entertainment nicely illustrates how new science ideas were not readily accepted during Galileo’s lifetime. As a result of this, Galileo had to choose between punishment and standing up for what he believed to be true. This dvd can be found at most libraries.
Nature Study of Constellations
Glow in the Dark Constellations: A Field Guide for Young Stargazers by C.E. Thompson is a wonderful, easy to use guide for beginning astronomers. This book is written for constellations easily seen from the continental United States. It includes details about 33 constellations plus step by step directions for viewing each. Most constellations are named after Greek and Roman gods, and so it includes a bit of the accompanying myth for each of the Greek and Roman gods. Your older kids may be interested in learning more about Greek and Roman mythology.
Hands On Science and Math
The Smithsonian Eyewitness Explorer Night Sky Detective has great hands-on activities. This week, explore gravity and make moon craters as described on page 21. Second, check out the phases of the moon while you chart the moon (page 22). Finally, learn why the moon doesn’t totally disappear during a lunar eclipse using the activity on page 25.
Next, make a constellation projector with a flashlight or smart phone and these printables from PlaygroundParkbench.com.
No one knows how many stars are in the universe. Some scientists estimate that there may be 100 billion trillion. Have your students write out that number and see how many zeros it takes. How many stars does your student think there are in the universe? Have them write out that number, too.
Next, if your students enjoyed the story Archimedes and the Golden Crown audiobook, have them learn about Archimedes’ Osteomachion Math Puzzle. This puzzle is the oldest math puzzle and is similar to a tanagram. The osteomachion is sometimes called Stomachion Math Puzzle. You’ll find several versions on Pinterest or use these instructions from TeachBesideMe.com
Finally, a moon and stars unit study wouldn’t be complete with Oreo cookies! First, read about the moon phases in The Smithsonian Eyewitness Explorer Night Sky Detective. Next, use the Oreo moon phases matching worksheet from Simply Learning Kids along with some Oreos to replicate the phases of the moon. Finally, don’t forget to take a picture of your project before you eat it!
For families that use narration to work on grammar, here is a narration page. This narration page uses quotes from Gail Gibbon’s The Moon Book. There are different quotes for each of the three levels (primary, intermediate, and secondary) that target different grammatical concepts.
I’ve created a list of vocabulary to go with the astronomy and astronauts unit. You can use these picture cards as a word wall, as flash cards, as writing prompts, or as spelling words.
Manuscript copy work
Here are five copy work pages of Bible verses that coordinate with the moon and stars theme.
Our family loves the devotional book Indescribable: 100 Devotions about God and Science by Louie Giglio! These five minute devotions are filled with wondrous facts about God’s amazing creation. The following devotions match up nicely with this moon and stars unit study: pages 26-27, 58-59, 68-69, 90-91, 130-131, and 134-135.
Jackson Pollock used gravity to create his drip paintings. Pollock described his most famous work, Number One (Lavender Mist), as “energy and motion made visible”. Explore how gravity plays a part in this painting style by dropping paint from a brush onto a large sheet of paper while standing on a stepladder.
Family schooling naturally has overlap between learner’s abilities. That’s why morning baskets and unit studies work so well for homeschool families with more than one kiddo! Therefore, there may be activities detailed in another level that will still be of benefit to your family even if you don’t have any students working at a different level. Check them out below:
Be sure to follow my Pinterest board Astronomy and Astronauts for more great morning basket ideas for your Moon and Stars unit!
Most importantly, pin this post so you can refer back to it during your Moon and Stars study.