Solar System Unit Study

2DEA777D00000578-3306656-A_new_study_challenges_the_Nice_Model_according_to_which_the_Sol-a-7_1446822659335

Along with the other members of our wonderful homeschool group, we decided to do a little unit study on the solar system during the month of March.  Since this was our first ever official group unit study, we were kind of feeling our way through what it might look like.

We kicked off the month, and got the kids excited, by taking a field trip to a local community college’s planetarium.

IMG_20160309_130014

(Almost all of the kids…there are 23 of them, total, ranging in age from 1 to 8…plus one more on the way!)

First we went into the planetarium to watch a video…

IMG_20160309_130622

IMG_20160309_133759

Then the wonderfully patient lady taught the kids about the relative distance between the planets by having them chart it out on a long strip of paper.

IMG_20160309_133923

IMG_20160309_134249

This was a great way for them to see that the planets aren’t just equally spaced apart out in the solar system, which is how they are usually represented in most pictures.

Then we went outside so that she could show them how to make a homemade comet using common ingredients like windex and dry ice (and a few other things I can’t remember)….

IMG_20160309_141157

IMG_20160309_141427

IMG_20160309_141653

IMG_20160309_142128

IMG_20160309_142214

IMG_20160309_143137

It was a great field trip!

Each of the older kids (ages 5 and up) was assigned a planet to learn about so that they could present their findings to the whole group.  We gathered once at my house to have a few of the kids present and to give them a fun solar-system inspired snack…

IMG_20160315_121533

IMG_20160315_124053

IMG_20160315_124200

IMG_20160315_125500

The kids really enjoyed this, of course.

IMG_20160315_130455

While they sat around eating their solar system, we were able to quiz them on a few things that they had learned.

IMG_20160315_130753

IMG_20160315_130944

Presentations:  None of my kids have any previous experience with public speaking or giving presentations, so they were both a bit nervous.

Logan was assigned the Earth as his planet.  Raphael found a neat tutorial on-line about how to make a LEGO Orrery, which is a model of the Sun/Earth/Moon relationship and how they rotate around each other.

https://youtu.be/chFF_t79qOM

So he and the boys got to work creating the Orrery so that Logan could bring it to his presentation.

IMG_20160326_170148

They found almost all the pieces they needed, but did end up having to order a couple of specialty pieces that they were missing.

The finished product…

IMG_20160331_080045

IMG_20160401_110557

(Logan’s presentation)

IMG_20160401_110502

Conner was assigned Neptune as his planet.  We couldn’t find any neat LEGO tutorials for Neptune, so they just created a big blue planet out of LEGOs instead.

IMG_20160401_110327

And he gave his presentation.  🙂

IMG_20160401_110249

We had a good time and learned a lot (And yes, I do mean “we”…I learn new things every single day that I never learned when I was in school.)!

 

Mr. Gumpy’s Motorcar

Mr Gumpy

A sunny day, a chance for a drive, and an exercise in cooperation take place in a changeable English countryside.  

-FIAR Manual

IMG_20160414_202351

Social Studies:  Cooperation

When the wheels of the motor car begin to spin, Mr. Gumpy says, “Some of you will have to get out and push.”  All of the passengers make excuses as to why they cannot possibly do it.

IMG_20160324_092348

It reminded me of the story of The Little Red Hen, where no one wants to help bake bread, but everyone wants to eat it.  In this case, though, they all work together in the end to help free the car.  So we read The Little Red Hen as a go-along story.

Social Studies:  England

We put our story disk on the map over England.

IMG_20160324_092700

Science:  Weather

Mr. Gumpy has to deal with a surprise thunderstorm.  We just happened to have a Koala Crate that arrived which had to do with weather and wind, so we used that kit as a go-along activity.

IMG_20160327_102247

We decorated a windsock and hung it on our tree outside.

IMG_20160327_103349

IMG_20160327_103450

There was a simple, but effective little weather chart that came with it, and we hung it on our window over the table, so we could check and record the weather at mealtimes.

IMG_20160327_105721

IMG_20160327_105928

They also constructed a little car with windsails…

IMG_20160327_104146

IMG_20160327_105601

IMG_20160327_110121

And then used “wind-power” to make it move…

IMG_20160327_105359

IMG_20160327_105350

Science (fun?!):  Cars

We also received a Kiwi Crate that month that was all about race cars, so we went ahead and attached that one to this unit study as well, since it was loosely related.

IMG_20160410_140326

There were two car templates, so Logan and Barrett each took charge of constructing/decorating one.

IMG_20160410_141423

IMG_20160410_143535

Then they attached the balloons and watched them race!

IMG_20160410_145242

IMG_20160410_145125

A quick and fun row!

The Clown of God

Clown of God

A retelling of an old legend, a story of a “gift for the child.”

IMG_20160216_123546 IMG_20160216_124039

This was a pretty laid-back rowing experience for us.

We placed our story disk over Sorrento, Italy (the Europe section of our map is getting pretty full with some of our previous rows!)…

IMG_20160313_172506

We talked about some of the Italian words used in the story.

We discussed orphans and homeless people quite a bit.

And we juggled…

IMG_20160216_125213 IMG_20160216_125223 IMG_20160216_125322 IMG_20160216_125345 IMG_20160216_125438_1 IMG_20160306_085730

The most memorable activity that we did was to attend the Renaissance Festival.  Even though they come through town every year in the Spring, Raphael and I haven’t been in 10 years.  And this was the boys’ first visit.  The shows are always neat, but it’s usually hot, dusty, and expensive.  This year was no difference!  We did have fun, though.

20160306_110052

IMG_20160306_110423

20160306_115513

20160306_120403

20160306_121553

20160306_122234

IMG_20160306_130432

20160306_131155

20160306_133643

20160306_134833

20160306_143059

The boys each brought home a wooden sword from the Festival, and the following weekend Raphael helped them decorate their swords using colored pencils and his wood-burning tool.

IMG_20160313_104202 IMG_20160313_110846 IMG_20160313_122507 IMG_20160313_135411

IMG_20160313_110818

IMG_20160313_110800