Current Science Unit: Astronomy

In our current unit, the young astronomers will receive an introduction to astronomy, the study of space and anything in it! This includes: the sun, the moon, the solar system, galaxies, stars, comets, asteroids and more! Our unit kicked off with a look at the moon, a huge piece of rock that goes around our planet. The astronomers learned that the moon is gray, dry and rocky, and not at all pretty and smooth. Instead it is full of craters, valleys and mountains. We even made our own moon models out of model magic!

Next, the astronomers study the 8 phases of the moon, starting with the new moon. They participate in some hands-on activities, such as creating the moon phases with Oreo cookies, and a demonstration of how the moon (a styrofoam ball) rotates around the earth (our head) and has light shining on it from the sun (a flashlight). Through this demonstration, the astronomers can actually see the changing phases of the moon on the styrofoam ball!

As we move into the next part of this unit, which focuses on the sun. The astronomers will learn about shadows and how the sun affects them. Shadows cast by the sun are longer in the morning and late afternoon, and shorter at midday.  The astronomers will also come to understand that the earth moves (rotates), and the sun does not. We will participate in some outdoor activities involving shadows to help cement this learning. The students will also make a sun, moon and earth model to depict how the moon orbits the earth while the earth rotates.

The next phase of the unit focuses on gravity, before transitioning to the solar system. The astronomers will learn the major components of the solar system and their characteristics.

Throughout the unit, the astronomers are also working on a solar system dictionary. This will help them keep track of all of the new vocabulary they are learning through definitions and sketches. This unit is simply "out of this world!"