Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Enrichment Ideas for Apologia Astronomy
I recently had someone ask me, "How do you find all the cool extra stuff you do with your kids?" It hadn't occurred to me that this was a talent. I've always liked "themes." I have a strong inner Ms. Frizzle, not because of the science aspect, but because of the wild themed clothing she wears and the field trips she takes her class on.
As I see things, be it online (shopping, blogs, or Pinterest) or while we're out & about, I make a mental note, "Hey, that's cool! That would go well with a study of ____________." When our learning path wanders around to that topic, I often remember and add whatever it was to our experience.
Today I want to share with you some of the things I added as we went through Apologia Astronomy in the second semester of our Rome to the Reformation year with My Father's World.
This toilet roll constellation project is one that my older kids did in their science PACEs years ago.
It's very simple, just cover the TP core in construction paper and use a sewing pin to poke the holes. I printed a page of constellations I found online for the boys to choose from.
Toobs have been really popular with my kids in the last year or two. The little girls ask for "the animal bucket" all the time. I'd seen the Space Toob in passing, and thought the boys could make a moonscape diorama with the figures.
Turns out, having little pieces they could see and touch was also great inspiration for art!
Jack got out our Spacecraft Cards and started matching all the figures to what cards they went with and reading interesting facts about them to us.
We enjoyed all the educational toys and ideas that came with our Space Scouts box.
And again, the more we read about planets and spacecraft in our Apologia Astronomy book, the more we got inspired to create space themed artwork.
We even had space pasta for lunch one day with "asteroid" meatballs!
If you have toddlers or preschoolers, you might want to check out Hugg a Planet's Hugg-A-Moon. We have the Earth one, and it's a favorite around here.
When not being used as a pillow, it rolls around our school room, and more than once during Astronomy, I grabbed it and had someone hold it while someone else orbited them to illustrate a concept. They also have Mars and the stars in huggable versions. I like these a lot better than inflatable globes, which my kids tend to throw more and pop quickly.
Eli found directions online to build the Space Shuttle from K'nex, his current favorite building toy.
There are many books that would go nicely with a study of astronomy. Jack enjoyed the Level 3 reader, Space Heroes Amazing Astronauts. You might also like Felix Explores Planet Earth (from space) for the picture book crowd, or if you have a sticker fan in your house, try National Geographic's Super Space Sticker Activity Book.
Fans of the Magic School Bus will enjoy Space Adventures or Super Star Power on DVD. We have the boxed set, and Katie asks for them all the time. My kids have spouted random science facts to me before in conversation, and I'll say, "Wow, that's interesting. Where did you learn that?" Magic School Bus, of course!
Groovy Lab in a Box puts out a variety of STEM kits, including Moon Dance, where we learned about lenses, gravity, and why Neil Armstrong's footprints are still on the moon.
Eli painted and assembled this model solar system for us. I like it, but I also saw a cute idea on Pinterest later that I might want to try next time around involving styrofoam balls and skewers. The one I saw placed the sun in a flowerpot, which was a cute idea, or you can hang the finished product from the ceiling.
I hope something here has sparked your interest and given you ideas for your own homeschool. Even if you do absolutely none of these things, Apologia Astronomy is still a great program all on it's own. I look forward to delving into Apologia Botany in our second semester next year.
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