Showing posts from January, 2014

Working on REAL Constellations

During our unit on constellations and stars we provoked opportunities to create original and unique constellations as well as read and learn about actual constellations. We chose to trace famous constellations like Orion, Leo the lion, Cassiopeia, and the eagle while reading about the various stars that encompass them. We introduced the idea that certain stars shine brighter than others and that before technology, many people used these stars as a map to guide them places. After our tracing project, we thought it might be fun to keep the constellations relevant in our classroom by creating a fine motor skill activity using the images we traced. Each child is able to revisit the constellations and mark the stars with beans. Though simple, the class really enjoys this activity and likes to point out that " this is how the constellations REALLY look in the sky!"

What is a Constellation?

Maya: A lot of stars that gather up to form shapes. Titus: A lion Arlo: Like a tiger In discovering the planets and our solar system we thought a nice way to revisit line and connection was through constellations. Because constellations are abstract representations of images created out of certain star patterns,  what better way to understand this then by creating our very own constellations.
We have (starting from top left): The Grocery Cart, The Pulley, The unnamed constellation, The Silly Duck This piece was done in steps from painting the dark space sky to cutting out the stars and gluing them. Each day we devoted a little bit of time to it and our constellations came out great!

Exploring Our Solar System

As we mentioned in an earlier post the children had many questions about Space. Many of their questions were about the planets,  the sun, moon and stars. We set out to do a bit of exploring of our solar system. We read books,  used our overhead projector,   traced the planets in our solar system,  and  colored beautiful pictures of the sun, learning that it's the star that gives us heat and light. Next, we took on the big project of creating our solar system in 3-d. This project had many steps,  the first being tear up newspaper and soak it in a bucket of water over night. We then squeezed all the water out and formed various sized balls using glue. When they were dry everyone had a chance to match the planets in our "Space" book. This gave us a great opportunity to have lots of discussion about how different in size the planets are.  We painted the planets and constructed a ring around Saturn. When we were finished we hung them in our studio. There is still so much to …

Blast Off!

One of our first discoveries in our space unit was that rockets and space shuttles are different than airplanes because they go much faster.  Fast enough to "blast off" into space. We read the book "Roaring Rockets" and it inspired us to make our very own rockets using assorted materials. The children helped each other glue, tape and staple various parts of their rocket together,  as well as aid one another in figuring out how to make all the various parts fit to create the shape of the rocket. Each child decorated their rocket however they desired,  some added flames shooting out the back, while others made their rocket a beautiful color with windows and doors. This was a great way to build team work and partnership. Each rocket came out wonderfully unique.

A Winter Celebration

One of the things we learned about our planet is that it travels around the sun. That journey takes one full year, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days. It was perfect being in the middle of a unit on Space this time of year. Wonderful connections to be made .  The Earth tilting on its axis as it makes its way around the sun takes us  just a little bit further from its warmth, giving us Winter.
The Winter Solstice is a celebration of the shortest day of the year because we know longer days will follow as the earth tilts us back toward its warm glow. We celebrate the life that the coming warmth will bring. No matter what we believe during this season, no matter what truths we hold in our hearts ultimately we are celebrating the same thing, the return of the light, new growth and birth. The children made beautiful gifts, twinkling star cards and sweet twig stars wrapped in colored embroidery floss bringing messages of love.

Wishing our Imagine families much warmth and love and a most fantasti…