These activities are a part of a series of posts about Astronomy and Astronauts. This planets and outer space unit study is for a family Charlotte Mason style morning basket time. Each weekly theme has 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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Living Science Books
Smithsonian Eyewitness Explorer Night Sky Detective by DK Children is a fabulous choice for 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 30 to 41. There are activities on each page spread. We enjoyed Finding Venus, Why is Mars Red?, and Stormy Weather.
If people in your family are still salty about Pluto being demoted, then Pluto’s Secret by Weitekamp and DeVorkin will help them better understand why Pluto is no longer considered a full-fledged planet. This book is simple enough for young primary students to understand, but also has a fantastic glossary, bibliography, and a who’s who in the back for intermediate and secondary students who would like to learn more about Pluto.
Learn about five different types of galaxies, types of telescopes, and details about the Milky Way in Gail Gibbon’s Galaxies, Galaxies. This book is one that kids don’t outgrow and is perfect for family morning time!
The Planets by Gail Gibbons is a wonderful resource for learning about the planets of our solar system. Look for the fourth edition of this book to have the most up to date information about Pluto’s status as a dwarf planet.
Grammar and Reading Comprehension
Want to check your student’s reading comprehension or pick out some facts for memorization? After your students read Galaxies, Galaxies by Gail Gibbons (or a similar title) use this intermediate level worksheet from my free resource library.
This week’s unit contains a large volume of information about our solar system and galaxies. Subsequently, there are two reading comprehension worksheets this week. This second worksheet coordinates with The Planets by Gail Gibbons (or similar title). Grab your copy from my free resource library.
For families that use narration as a way to learn grammar, here is a narration page with quotes from Gail Gibbon’s The Planets. There are three different difficulty levels to use with your 2nd to 8th graders
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle is part science fiction, part coming of age story, about a brother and sister, Meg and Charles Wallace, and their friend, Calvin. The themes of courage, family ties, and resourcefulness are explored while the trio travels through time and space. This book won the Newberry Medal in 1963 and is the first book in the Time Quintet series.
Podcasts are a great way to get kids to reduce their screentime, without completing cutting their USB cord. Commonsense Media has approved Stories Podcast and Brains On podcast as being kid friendly. If you’re interested in folklore, try The Girl who Kissed the Moon on storiespodcast.com; a traditional creation myth from the Tupi-Guarani indigenous people of Brazil. Or, for a more science fact-based podcast, check out The Mystery of Gravity, Why Does the Sun Make Some People Sneeze? or Mysteries of the Universe: Expansion and Gravity on BrainsOn.org.
Hands On Science Fun
- Make a model of our solar system with cardboard and small bits of yarn with NextComesL.com’s instructions for Yarn wrapped planets.
- Create art and explore UV light with photo sensitive paper.
- Measure out the relative distances between the planets with toilet paper with these instructions from TeachBesideMe.com.
Explore the enormous difference in temperatures among the planets in our solar system with this worksheet from HomeschoolHelperOnline.com
Have your students write a few sentences about the vast differences in the relative sizes of planets with this printable from HomeschoolHelperOnline.com
Alternatively, your students can make a Planet Book of facts with this printable from HomeschoolHelperOnline.com. Each planet page has sections on distance from the sun, rotation time, size, and other fun facts.
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 week’s planets and outer space study: pages 8-9, 30-31, 36-37, 116-117, and 172-173.
Family Field Trip
Planetariums offer interactive programs for families to learn about the night sky with the use of a projector. Find the planetarium nearest you here. Or observe the real stars in space at an observatory. Most cities and even some smaller towns have observatories. Check out this site to find the observatory nearest you. Be sure to check your library for programs on astronomy also. Our local library has monthly astronomy events where kids can use a telescope and learn about current astronomical events.
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 Planets and Outer Space unit! And follow Whole Child Homeschool on Pinterest so you don’t miss any posts!
Finally, don’t forget to pin this post so you can refer back to it during your Planets and Outer Space study.