A Themed Family School Unit Study for Morning Time and More
These activities are a part of a series of posts about Astronomy and Astronauts. This rockets and spacecraft unit study is for a
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Living Science and History 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 26-29 and 42-43. There are activities on each page spread. We enjoyed Finding Venus, Why is Mars Red?, and Stormy Weather.
Apollo 8: The Mission that Changed Everything by Martin W. Sandler reads more like a documentary film than a living storybook, but don’t let that deter you from checking out this resource. It’s filled with engaging photos and quotes and stories of the people involved in the Apollo 8 mission. The author also provides historical context of the politics motivating the United States to get to the moon first (The Space Race). This week, I recommend reading chapters 1 to 4.
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly is another mash-up of history, biography and to a lesser degree, story. Despite being a picture book, it may be too long for those in primary grades, but it does have an impressive amount of facts, vocabulary, and history for 4th grade and up. Plus, it’s an amazing true story of overcoming societal limitations!
A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle continues the story of 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 is the second book in the Time Quintet series.
This short video produced by NASA interviews the three astronauts from the Apollo 8 mission and tells of their determination and motivation to complete the mission. Great inspirational message!
Read these short articles from NASA Knows! about their rockets and space crafts programs: rockets and how a rocket works; Apollo program; the space shuttle program; the heavy lift launch vehicle (a kind of rocket); and the International Space Station.
Rocketry by Carla Mooney is a solid explanation of the science behind rockets as well as the history of rockets. There
Using Legos, build a replica of Voyager or Apollo. Use the following links to see what those spacecraft looked like. The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has a
Owl and Wormy: Bright Lights and Starry Nights by Andy Runton is a wordless picture book perfect for making up their own story. Have your younger kids tell you the story. Your upper elementary kids can write a short story that includes dialogue.
For families that use narration as a way to learn grammar, here is a narration page in the Free Resource Library with quotes from Gail Gibbon’s Galaxies, Galaxies. There are three different difficulty levels to use with your 2nd to 8th graders. Become a subscriber for access to the Free Resource Library and Exclusive Bonus Content in our newsletter.
Draw or color a picture of the Voyager space craft while listening to the music sent into space on the Voyager. You can find the music selected to represent all of humanity (!) in this article from ClassicFM.com.
Your intermediate level kids can re-create Van Gogh’s Starry Night using one of two techniques. First, they could use the aluminum foil and finger painting style that the primary kids will use. Or, alternatively, they could use the fork scraping method outlined by The Pinterested Parent.
Our family loves the devotional book Indescribable: 100 Devotions about God and Science by Louie Giglio! These
Family schooling naturally has an 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 at another level that be of benefit to your family even if you don’t have any students 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 Rockets and Spacecraft unit!
Most importantly, pin this post so you can refer back to it during your Rockets and Spacecraft study.