Friday, August 6, 2010

Kindergarten Space Unit Week 1: Astronauts

It's been a fun week. L enthusiastically wakes me up before sunrise to ask if we're having "tindergarten." (Well, the before sunrise part I could do without.)
Here's a picture of him Monday morning, before we got started.

Our theme this week was astronauts. I was a little surprised to see that L was just as content doing the more "boring" stuff as the fun stuff. No protests about handwriting practice, etc.

Here's a picture of some of the space related stuff we had out this week, complete with L's Lego interpretation of the Earth, the sun, and the moon.

We watched video of Apollo 11 on the NASA site, and then went for a "moon walk" of our own, complete with "space suits." We talked about how you'd be able to jump and bounce higher, because of the lower gravity on the moon, and about how heavy and bulky a real spacesuit would be.

We constructed a cardboard space shuttle.

And then we ate like astronauts. We talked about how juice in a glass would just float away in a space shuttle, so the astronauts might drink out of something like a juice pouch. We also talked about the need for food to be light and portable, so we ate dehydrated fruit.

We worked out with an excercise video, and talked about how astronauts have to get lots of excercise to stay strong in space. (Sorry, no pictures, but just as well. You really didn't want to watch me do yoga anyway...)

We used a ball to demonstrate the idea of gravity. The ball always comes back down on Earth, but on other planets where the gravity is different, the ball might just keep going and going. We used a balloon to demonstrate the idea of rocket propulsion. If you blow up a balloon, and then let it go, the air shooting out of it will project it forward. This is a simplified example of the way a rocket is propelled. (That idea came form the Usborne Guide to the Universe.)

We read a pile of space related books, and I spent my late nights watching a DVD series I rented from the library to brush up on my astronomy. It's FANTASTIC, and it totally reminded me of what a latent geek I am.

Altogether, I had fun planning, we all had fun learning, and it made me realize how glad I am that we're keeping him home.


  1. Looks like a fun week. I like the idea of seeing how bulky an astronaut's outfit is.

  2. So cool. I have been toying with the idea of using curriculum this year with my 4 year old - how much of this was sonlight? I am curious!

  3. Actually none of it was Sonlight. I just cobbled together a bunch of ideas from books and websites.
    We're using pretty generic math and phonics workbooks, along with Bob Books, Draw. Write. Now., and History for Little Pilgrims.
    Everything else comes from the millions of blogs I follow, hours of web searching, and lots of teaching books. It's fun, but fairly time consuming this way. I've basically spent the summer planning.
    Next year we may go towards something more like Sonlight, etc, just for my benefit.

  4. Great post! Love the variety! My son is the same age. I will be browsing your site for more!