A Themed Family School Unit Study for Morning Baskets

These activities are a part of a series of posts about Astronomy and Astronauts. This rockets and spacecraft unit study is for a family 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:

Moon and Stars: Primary, Intermediate, Secondary

Space and Planets : Primary, Intermediate, Secondary

Rockets and Spacecraft: Primary, Intermediate, Secondary

Astronauts and Space Shuttles: Primary, Intermediate, Secondary

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Historical Biography

Destination Moon: The Spiritual and Scientific Voyage of the Eighth Man to Walk on the Moon by Astronaut James Irwin is a chronological journey that combines facts, awe, and wonder of creation into an inspiring story about one of NASA’s manned rocketry programs.

Alternatively, your student could read Hidden Figures: Young Reader’s Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly. This version has more of a storyline than the “regular” version of Hidden Figures by the same author. There is also a picture book version by Shetterly that I recommend for 4th to 6th grades on the rockets and spacecraft intermediate lessons page.

Men of Science, Men of God by Henry M. Morris presents over 100 biographies of scientists who were also Christians and believed science did not contradict God’s Word. This week, read the biographies of Kepler and Brahe.

Science and History

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 Getting into Space and Coming Back to Earth in Exploring Space or The Sun and The Stars in the Young Oxford text.

Multimedia

The video above is from National Geographic, titled Earthrise: The Story of the Photo that Changed the World. This 30minute video includes footage of the three astronauts on the Apollo 8 mission, and interviews right after their mission and again fifty years later. Due to the use of a curse word at 14:07, it’s recommended for ages 14 and up–or just hit mute for a second.

Next, check out this short video from the Royal Observatory Greenwich. It explains the applications of Newton’s Laws of Motion through a scenario of 4 astronauts traveling to Mars.

Finally, for a family movie night, watch the movie, Hidden Figures, starring Taraji Henson. You can read a review of this movie on PluggedIn.com

Hands on Science Fun

Use this free resource from Civil Air Patrol: Model Rocketry. This resource contains a tremendous amount of content. Therefore, your student won’t be able to complete it all this week, but once they start it, they will probably discover an interest in the material and be self-motivated to complete it on their own over the next few weeks. If your student completes just the first two sections of this program, he or she will be able to:

  • Identify historical facts about the development of rockets.
  • Describe the major contributions of the four great rocket pioneers.
  • Recall facts about the rocket pioneers’ lives and accomplishments.
  • Design, build and launch two non-solid fuel hands-on rocket options
  • Explain Newton’s three Laws of Motion.
  • Describe the aerodynamics of a rocket.
  • Design, build and launch two of the hands-on rocket options.

Language Arts

Literature: Read C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra, the second book in Lewis’ space trilogy. The author of Narnia based the hero of this book, Dr. Ransom, on his friend J.R.R. Tolkien. Dr. Ransom travels to the planet Perelandra in his spacecraft where he must battle temptation and evil. Learn the fate of Dr. Ransom and this planet in the second installment of the series.

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 Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle instead of the Lewis selection. This book is the second 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’ Galaxies, Galaxies.

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Writing: Have your students write a (fake) tweet using 280 characters or less in response to “Wow! I just learned that..” Then, have them check their tweet using the free writing assistant on grammarly.com for spelling and grammatical errors. Finally, have them fix any errors.

Fine Arts

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.

Have your students research Vincent van Gogh. They can report what they’ve learned with this notebooking page from HomeschoolHelperOnline.com. Then have them re-create Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting, adding their own artistic twist if they so desire.

Devotions

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 rockets and spacecraft: pages 48-49, 52-53, 54-55, 74-75, and 96-97. 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. Psalm 121: 5, Psalm 148: 1-7, James 4:8, 1 Hebrews 3:4

More Ideas

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 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:

Rockets and Spacecraft: Primary, Intermediate

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.

rockets spacecraft unit study homeschool
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