These activities are a part of a series of posts about Astronomy and Astronauts. This planets and outer space unit study is for a Charlotte Mason style family morning basket. 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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Men of Science, Men of God by Henry M. Morris presents over 100 biographies of scientists who were also Christians that believed science did not contradict God’s Word. This week, read the biographies of Galileo and Copernicus.
Exploring Space by Martin Jenkins is a comprehensive look at the history of astronomy and space exploration. Use this or a similar title, such as The Young Oxford Book of Astronomy by Simon and Jaqueline Mitton, as your main spine book for your secondary students for the whole four week unit. This week, read Solar System and Beyond in Exploring Space or The Solar System in the Young Oxford text.
If the younger children in your family are creating art this week with UV photosensitive paper, have your older kids research how this paper works. Then let your older kids explain the scientific process to the younger kids.
Hands On Science Fun
Have your secondary students learn about solar energy by making a solar oven. Make a solar oven from a pizza box or an amazon box. If you have more than one student at the secondary level, have them make ovens using different directions and compare their efficiency. Which one gets hotter and cooks faster?
Measure out the relative distances between the planets with toilet paper with these instructions from TeachBesideMe.com
Watch a documentary about the history and use of telescopes, Eye on the Skies.
Listen to Sky Tour Astronomy podcast to see what in the night sky this month.
Research Essay: This week, review Solar Sytem and Beyond in the Exploring Space book or The Solar System in the Young Oxford text. Then, write a five to seven paragraph essay describing the planets in our solar system. There should be paragraphs for an introduction, a conclusion and at least 3 paragraphs detailing facts about the planets, including distances from the sun, relatives sizes, and temperatures of each planet.
Literature: Read C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet, the first book in the space trilogy. The author of Narnia based the hero of this book, Dr. Ransom, on his friend J.R.R. Tolkien. Dr Ransom is kidnapped by an evil physicist and his minion and taken to their red planet. Find out if he escapes and is able to return to Earth!
If you have younger students and would like for everyone to be on the same page, so to speak, have your secondary students read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle instead of the Lewis selection. This book won the Newberry Medal in 1963 and is the first book in the Time Quintet series. The L’Engle series would also be an easier read for middle schoolers than the Lewis series.
Grammar: If your family uses narration as a way to learn grammar, grab a copy of my narration quotes from my free resource library. This week’s quotes are from Gail Gibbons’ The Planets.
Reading Comprehension: After your family reads Galaxies, Galaxies by Gail Gibbons and The Planets by Gail Gibbons, (or similar titles) check your student’s reading comprehension with the Galaxies worksheet and The Planets worksheet for secondary learners in my free resource library.
If you have younger students, your family may want to do your devotions together with 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. If your secondary student is the youngest, or prefers to do his or her own devotions, use these Bible verses to journal or create SOAP notes. Genesis1:1-3 , Isaiah 40:26, 2 Timothy 1:7 , 1 John 3:18
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.