Homeschool Conference!!!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Outta This World!

I've been teaching all our kiddos along with a group that comes to my home 2 days a week all about the Solar System.  I have absolutely LOVED this!  Quite possibly one the reasons I love teaching so much is because I love learning so much!
I don't believe for a second that we know it all,
nor do I believe we should make children think that we do.
I love having the opportunity to say, "I really don't know the answer to that, BUT I will find out and let you know next time we come together."  
I don't know about other people, but my kiddos think I know EVERYTHING, well the older ones used to think this and the little ones still do!
I feel it's really important to let them know that we just keep on learning new things every day, EVEN MOM!  

The month of October has been devoted to learning about the Solar System for our Science Class ~ I'm tellin' ya what!  I think I need an entire year to do it justice...not gonna happen, so I just picked out the gems that I felt were most important.  And if I've done my job right...all these kids will have the desire to keep on learning  on their own, so it matters little the amount of time I put in for them!

I'll highlight a few for you ~ hope you're ready to learn something new (and if you already know it all, well ~ you are way ahead of me!)

The first of the month my kids and I made a model that spans our classroom of our Solar System.  I could not be happier with it (well, if Jupiter would stay where it was supposed to that might make me happier, but besides that minor problem, I have loved it and it has served its purpose well)  We did our best to depict the size and color of the planets as well as their relation to the sun.  If any of you homeschooling mommas are looking for ideas, I have them for you!!!  To make your very own Solar System...look below!  :0)  After the directions, I'm also going to take you on a little journey through our Solar System ~ We walked and visited EVERY single planet today...can I just tell you it was amazing and rather enlightening!!!!

Directions for a ton of fun!!!!
For the Sun ~ Find a giant round yellow plastic tablecloth and hang it in the corner. (I found one at the Dollar Store and it is perfect!)
Next you just need a little tiny bouncy ball for Mercury - drill a small hole in the center and hang it from fishing line.  (All of your planets will hang from the ceiling being suspended by fishing line and 3 hooks (but not fishing hooks...hooks that you screw into the ceiling, just thought I should clarify that one) -- one in the center and one on either end)
Then comes Venus - we found a small Yellow Tennis ball, again just drill a little hole through it and hang it up.
Earth is next in the lineup - Earth and Venus are very similar in size, so we used another tennis ball only in blue.  (wishing I could have found something with blue and green...but it worked)
Now we come to Mars - The RED planet, so yes find yourself a small red ball, smaller than Earth and Venus.

That does it for the inner planets...
at this point if you were super creative you could add in the ASTEROID BELT!  So wishing I would have done this...I still may ~ in fact, before next Tuesday when we all meet again, I'm thinking I should really have that there for the kids to all see (a picture in your mind will stay forever!  or at least close to forever!!!)

Alrighty, let's start on the outer planets - 
our GAS GIANTS!!!!

1st in line is our largest planet ~ JUPITER...Jupiter was just a smidge more work, but not too much!  Find yourself the biggest ball you can and then cover it with butcher paper, if you want add a little brown coloring (my kids did the honor here!) then don't forget to add your big red spot!  Tape it on and then figure out a way better than I did to make that hummer stay suspended in air!  Basically just wrap fishing line like crazy all over it and then cross your fingers and maybe go ahead and do your toes, too and then hang it up.
(A little helpful side note!)  The biggest reason for the middle hook in your ceiling is to hang Jupiter on one side of it and Saturn on the opposite, pretty much as close as you can to the hook.  They are some big heavy planets and they want to do some serious sagging!
Okay, let's move on...the next one was definitely the most work, BUT SO WORTH IT!  SATURN looks amazing hanging in my classroom, I love it!  So why was it so much work, well because I chose to do the ring around it...all of the outer planets really should have had them (especially Uranus, but we'll get to that in a moment or two) but I was a tad bit too lazy after doing the rings of Saturn.  So here's what we did...Find yourself a big old yellow ball, then grab a piece of RED poster board (this will be for your ring)  Cut a big hole out of the center of the poster board and then round your edges a little.  OH...Forgot to mention this one....USE the leftover hole from the red ring for JUPITER'S SPOT!!!  Works perfect  :0)
Okay back to Saturn...we suspended the ring and the planet separately, took a little work, but it looks great.  To hang the ring, we just poked a few holes and hung it from the fishing line.  I didn't even try to keep it perfectly level and it looks "perfect"!

Moving on to Uranus...
(still not exactly sure how I should pronounce this one, he he he)
Sorry, that's just the way I am!
Guess none of you really needed me to add that in, oh well, too late!
Uranus is a pretty cool place...
what makes it pretty spectacular to me is that the rings and the planet are on a tilt, soooo if you are smart enough to figure out how to hang those rings, go for it...and when you are done, shoot me a little note so I can add that, too!  I just grabbed a small green ball  (not tiny...much larger than Earth and Venus, but smaller than Jupiter and Saturn)   Remember the last four planets are called gas GIANTS for a reason  :0)  They are biggies!!!

We're getting close to the end, next in line is Neptune.  Use the same size ball as you did for Uranus, only make sure this one is Blue.  I was lucky enough to find these two balls in kind of a "pearly" look, they just make me happy!.

Okay at this point, the Scientific Smart People would say we are done...
But I wasn't quite satisfied...and since this is my classroom and I get to be the teacher...I've decided to overrule the smartie pants and do it my own way!!!
 I grew up believing that we still have one more little planet hanging out there
and by darn-it my kiddos are gonna know about it...
so, yes, I added PLUTO in.
I used a tiny brown bead.
For anyone who cares...I did make sure to let them all know that Pluto is officially now referred to as a dwarf planet...but hey, planet is still in the title and I for one find nothing wrong with being small...therefore I found it mighty deserving of hanging out in my classroom!

Now for a moment of honesty...REMEMBER at the beginning when I said I don't know everything...well the honest to goodness truth is that I don't know A LOT of things.  There was a big one that I learned doing this little exercise.
While at the store purchasing our supplies for our solar system, I picked up a bundle of stars that I thought I'd just hang around as well, I was so very happy at the thought of stars hanging from my ceiling...much to my dismay, I found that we have only ONE STAR in our Solar System....For those of you who were not aware of this (I'm really hoping I'm not the only one!)...Yes, The SUN is our ONLY Star in the Solar System...all the ones we see out our windows or while gazing up in the sky are in our galaxy, but not in our solar system.
I stumped most of the kids with this question, and a few of the moms.
BUT NOW, every single one of those kiddos know just how many stars are present in our solar system.

The saddest part of knowing this is that there is a quote that I adore...
"Shoot for the moon.  
Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."
Dang it all...NOT TRUE!
We'll just be floating around "out there" if we miss the moon (just don't miss it is all I can suggest!)...
so that is the one bummer that I've felt during my month of studying.

Okay...this post (as well as most of them that I ever do) is getting pretty, I think I'll just end it here and do another one with our Solar System Journey...

IF I CAN EVER figure out how to get pictures off my phone, I'll add some so you can see these wonderful little creations of ours.  Until then, just use your imagination (I happen to think that is a better choice anyway)

Ta ta