Library book and Solar System kit
Miss Six and Master Nine investigating the solar system
Saturday morning found us studying the Solar System. It's such a fascinating topic, but my children hadn't expressed a lot of interest in it as yet. However, knowing my son is a keen scientist, I thought he would find it interesting. He had a kit his Aunt brought him for his birthday that he hadn't yet gotten around to. I'd left it on the coffee table before I went to bed with a few books in the hopes of sparking the children's curiosity in the morning. When I mentioned it to him he said he didn't feel like painting it yet, so I suggested we just put it together and see how it works. All three children were keen on this idea, so together we identified the planets and built the model with the help of a book I had handily borrowed from the library.
I had also printed out this fantastic collection of worksheets and this colouring page (found via Pinterest). I suggested my son and daughter colour in their colouring pages while I read to them from the worksheets. Miss Six protested this idea by ripping up her colouring in sheet. I reminded myself that we are learning without coercion and let her go. She later came back and coloured in a spare colouring page that I had printed in case the three-year-old had wanted to join us. (Dear Miss Six is still struggling with anything that even looks like school work since leaving school last year. Even walking friend's children to school one morning caused her anxiety, and she preferred to wait outside the school gates rather than within.)
As I read I made notes of the questions that the children posed and we looked those up on the iPad together. What is a solar flare? Why do cold spots on the sun cause the Earth to heat up? How do we know what our galaxy looks like? What does an eclipse look like? Why is Pluto no longer a planet? Such fascinating questions that have lead to even more interesting questions! We found a great YouTube clip about Solar Systems that the kids watched transfixed.
We learnt a silly sentence to remember the order of the planets (My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos), which Cohen then used to write the names next to the planets, we learnt about astronomers, satellites, comets, telescopes, Copernicus, Galileo, eclipses, the difference between revolve and rotate, and so much more. This week we plant to observe the moon and make note of its appearance. We shall study the phases of the moon, and I will transcribe interesting facts that we discover about each of the planets, such as how many moons it has, whether or not it is made of gas, and how long it takes to orbit the sun.
I love learning in this way with my children. I learn so much too! Who knew that the Neptune took 165 years to orbit the sun? Not me!