We kicked off our space theme this week and so far it’s been a hit. In our lessons, we did an overview of the solar system–its structure, the planets, moons, stars, asteroids, comets, and meteors.
Solar System Puzzle
This is our Melissa & Doug Solar System puzzle. So far Joey loves it and we seem to put the puzzle together at least twice a day.
Sometimes Joey likes to match the planets from our sensory tub to the planets on the puzzle.
A Space Sensory Tub
While I really wanted to use the moon sand recipe, I couldn’t find sand at our Target or Wal-Mart and couldn’t make it to a craft store. Joey hasn’t seemed to mind. I had this play foam and it’s worked well, except I can’t get the glitter off the table.
There’s also figures from our space toob and glow in the dark planets and stars.
Orbiting the Sun
In one of our lessons we talked about how the planets in our solar system orbit around the sun and orbit is the path an object takes when circling another object.
I tied a ribbon around Joey’s waist and tethered the other end to a weight. Then he orbited around “the sun.” He had a lot of fun and wanted to start walking around different planets.
Constellation Pin Poking
I drew a few constellations on 4″x 4″ black construction paper with a white crayon. For the actual stars I made a circle and then connected each with a line to see the constellation.
Planet 3-Part Cards
These are the 3-part cards I made using the Open Clip Art Library. You can download the planet 3-part cards and sorting planets printables* here:
Planet 3-Part Cards
Sorting Planets Cards
*Note: I made these back in 2012 and since then more dwarf planets have been discovered. These cards do not have Makemake or Haumea.
We took a trip to our local science center and found this! It’s a Gemini trainer. While this particular one never left Earth it helped prepare astronauts in the 1960s for their missions.
It was so tiny! I couldn’t imagine sitting in such a small compartment and traveling through space!
Also, if you’re doing a space unit you might want to download Google Sky. It’s a pretty neat (and free) app. I have it on my phone and whichever way I hold my phone, we can see what is in the sky in that area.
Even if the phone is facing downward toward the ground, the app will show you what planets, stars, or constellations could be seen if you were on the opposite side of the earth. Pretty cool!
If you use Google Sky on your computer, you can see the constellations, different pictures the Hubble has taken and where they are in space, see different galaxies, supernovas, and stars forming. FAQ for Google Sky is a helpful page that answers a few questions about Google Sky and how to use it.
Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury are aligning. Apparently, this weekend was a great time to see them, but they’ll still be visible for a few more days andÂ JupiterÂ and Venus we should be able to see into March.
- Planets Align: Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, & Moon to Appear
- See Venus and Jupiter in HD with Just Your Naked Eyes
- See Venus, Jupiter & Moon Align in Weekend Celestial Show
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7 comments… add one
It looks you have both really enjoyed learning about the solar system. I am definitely filing some of these ideas away for later use. Your three part cards turned out great, and the Google Sky app sounds fantastic!
I love your space unit. The Solar system puzzle is awesome – I think that might go n my wish list
First visit to your site and I just LOVE it! Thanks for all the helpful resources. 🙂
You had so many great activities in your space unit! I featured your post and photo in my Montessori-Inspired Solar System Unit at http://livingmontessorinow.com/2012/10/04/montessori-inspired-solar-system-unit/
This is my first time at your site and I love it! Where did you have your planet 3-part cards? I would love to have those!
Hi Laurie! Thanks for stopping by. I made the planet 3-part cards myself and hope to put them up on the blog as a freebie sometime soon!
My little one loves the planets and I love your cards! Did you by chance get them uploaded as a printable?