Monday, May 23, 2011

Joy School - The Planets

We explored space this month with our Joy School kids, and had fun as always.

Our first week's lesson focused on the planets in our solar system.

Lesson Time:
Our host mom began by explaining, that while we live on a planet, there are other planets in space too. To demonstrate, she used an orange as the sun, and then used different sized and differently coloured marbles to represent the planets of our solar system. I thought it was a great visual to give the kids a concept of how the planets are similar, and yet different.


Then she moved on to teach about orbits, and what it means to 'orbit the sun.' She set out a loop of string around the orange, and we sang the months of the year song as she gradually worked the marble around the string until we were back in the same place as before.


She also tried to help us understand that while the earth is looping around the sun, we are also spinning on our own planet. Dizzying.


Video Clip:


We watched a few minutes of Magic School Bus Blasts Off, where the kids in Miss Frizzle's class are taken to all the planets in the solar system. Some are hot, some are cold, some have more gravity, some have less. And in the end, they learn that only planet Earth is suitable for humans.


Art Time:


We were all given several Styrofoam balls, and the kids got to 'design their own planet.' It was fun to see all the different things that the kids came up with, but my boy made Earth. Several of them. Blue and green. No need for anything else.


Science Time:


In science time we talked about gravity and how it was the force that pulled everything to the ground. If there was no gravity, we'd float right away into the air!


She had prepared this chart that shows the relative gravity on all the planets, as compared to Earth. After we looked at it, we walked around the room, pretending we were on different planets. So if we were pretending to be on Jupiter, walking was really hard, and we had to really work to pick our legs up off the floor. If we were walking on Pluto, we took big, bouncy steps because there wasn't as much gravity holding us down.


Craft Time:



I had to step out to go to my daughter's Mother's Day program at kindergarten, which was wonderful, but I missed the rest of Joy School. Too many good things happening on one day! This craft was to make a 'milky way.' First the kids made spirals of glue, and then added glitter to be the stars of our galaxy.


They also did another craft, which I didn't photograph before it caught the attention of our toddler. Ooops. For this one, they made earth sun catchers. On a sheet of waxed paper, they sprinkled crayon shavings of blue and green. Then they put another sheet of waxed paper on top, and ironed it until the wax stuck together. Then they cut out a circle shape, punched a hole in the top, and added a loop of string so you could hang it up. It worked out very prettily, and I'm sorry I don't have a picture to show for it.


Singing Time:


They sang "The Planets go Around the Sun," to the tune of The Ant's Go Marching


The planets revolve around the sun, hurrah; hurrah

The planets revolve around the sun, hurrah; hurrah

The planets revolve around the sun and spin on their axis every one.

And they all go spinning, around and around . . .They go.


Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, hurrah; hurrah

Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, hurrah; hurrah

Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are whirling and twirling around the sun

And they all go spinning, around and around . . .. They go.


Jupiter, Saturn are next in line, hurrah, hurrah

Jupiter, Saturn are next in line, hurrah, hurrah

Jupiter, Saturn are next in line. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto make all nine

And they all go spinning, around and around . . .. They go.

Story Time:


Not helpful here, I'm afraid. I saw that she had gotten books from the library, but I didn't take a picture of them, and now I have no idea what they were. My fault.


Wiggle Time:


I got back from the school to catch the very end of this part. They had gone into the backyard, and jumped on the trampoline, to feel what it would be like to walk and bounce around with less gravity. So great! The kids all loved this part!

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