Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Orbiting Earth

Hi, guys!  I know it's been a while.  Don't worry.  We're still here.  We've been quite busy with a bit of everything, including a whole day yesterday of making birthday plans for Maggie's 4th this August.  (I can't believe my baby will be four years old!)  This year, she has opted for a 'Robot Party.'  (Of course.)  It should be fun.  Today, though, we buckled down and got some more homeschooling done, completing our space study.  The only challenge we really ran into was how Mags is pronouncing 'Saturn.'  (She gives it an extra syllable, like 'Sat-ur-in,' instead of just the two syllables.)  I guess we'll have to keep working on that.  Here are some photos:

Observing the revolution of the Earth around the sun and the moon around the Earth ...
 Putting the planets in order from the sun ...
 And playing with our laminated solar system pieces ...
Completing a maze to get the spaceship to the moon ...
Shaping play dough into different moon shapes ...
 Don't forget the craters!
For some practice with sequencing, we put together the parts of a simple spaceship story.
 The materials for our space helmet -- a medium-sized gift bag, a pipe cleaner, stickers, and scissors.
 After I cut off the gift bag's handles and cut out an opening for her head, I made two small holes in the bottom of the bag for the pipe cleaner to poke through.  Then, Mags decorated her helmet with groovy space stickers!
 Astronaut Maggie, on the ready, with her helmet in place and her space food in tow!  (Thank you, Uncle Steven and Aunt Mary Lee, for the space treats!)
 Searching for moon rocks (If it doesn't rain soon, my yard really will look like the surface of the moon!) ...
'Found one!'
 Snack time!  (She really loved that dehydrated ice cream!)
 Finding hidden pictures that start with the letter 'B' in this spaceship scene ...
 The materials for our rocket ship ...
 Wrapping our tube in aluminum foil ...
 Using a piece of stiff paper, we formed a cone and adhered it to one end of our tube, then wrapped that in foil as well.  Here, Mags is decorating her ship with more space stickers.
 Then, we added strips of red, orange, and yellow tissue paper to the opposite end.  The countdown begins ... '10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...'
(She loved this!)
 Coloring the Earth for our 'Orbiting Earth' craft ...

Today, we:
1. We read The Planets by Jeff Bauer.
2. We listened to the 'How Many Planets?' song (Track 8) on the Here Comes Science CD that we borrowed from the library.
3. We discussed the fact that two new dwarf planets have been discovered recently, since the thought that we had only nine in our solar system: Ceres and Eris, which now makes 11 planets in all.
4. We listened to the '11 Planets' song, performed by Lisa Loeb, at
5. We completed the 'What's in Our Solar System' activity in our Space and the Planets workbook, pages 21-22, where we placed the planets in order in relation to the sun and each other. Once placed, we answered the questions on page 22 together.
6. We played with our laminated solar system pieces, putting the planets in order. We discussed the two not in the group.
7. We read The Moon by Lydia Carlin.
8. We completed the maze that sends the rocket to the moon out of our Mazes workbook, page 28.
9. We completed the 'Sun, Earth, and Moon' activity in our Space and the Planets workbook, page 20, where we made the manipulative model of the sun, Earth, and moon, demonstrating how they revolve around each other.
10. We used play dough to roll and pat into thick circles for moons, or cut into crescent shapes with our moon cutter. We then poked craters into her moons by using our fingertips.
11. We completed the 'Blast Off' worksheet out of our Beginning Sequencing workbook, page 29, that had her cut out pictures depicting a story of a spaceship in space, then glue them in the order in which they took place.
12. We played with our outer space and alien stickers, and used them to decorate the picture of Astronaut Elmo in space.
13. We completed the 'Moon Adventure' activity out of our Toddler's Busy Play Book, page 107, where we took an imaginary trip to the moon in our rocket ship. For it, we made an astronaut helmet by cutting a hole in the side of a paper bag. We decorated the bag before putting it over her head so she could look out through the hole. She then 'blasted off' into space. While there, she tasted the space food (freeze-dried ice cream) that we got from Uncle Steven and Aunt Mary Lee, and gathered 'moon rocks' before coming home.
14. We completed the '3-2-1 Blastoff' worksheet in our Space and the Planets workbook, page 3, which requires her to find nine hidden items in the spaceship picture that begin with 'B.'
15. We made the Orbiting Earth craft as seen at
16. We watched some footage of space travel online together.
17. We sang the 'I Love to Ride in My Spaceship' song by Liz Ryerson:
     (sung to the tune of 'My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean':
     I love to ride in my spaceship.
     I love to sail through the stars.
     I love to see all the planets,
     Like Jupiter, Venus, and Mars.
     Sailing, sailing,
     I love to sail through the stars, stars, stars,
     Seeing planets
     Like Jupiter, Venus, and Mars.
18. We made a Space Rocket by covering a paper towel tube with tin foil. Then, we cut long strips of yellow, red and orange tissue paper and glued onto the inside of one end of the rocket, all around the perimeter, to resemble the rocket's 'fiery flames.' The tip of the rocket (at the opposite end of the tube) was formed from a cone from construction paper, taped shut, then covered with tin foil. We then decorated it with space stickers.

It was a lot of fun.  See you soon!


  1. Hi,
    I came across your blog from searching for ideas for our Book Fair decorations on the Planets in the Solar System. I was so impressed that your 4-yr old Maggie was so into making the whole solar system! She is indeed a cutie and I am so glad you taught her well. She will have a bright future! Anyway, I can't help to post this as a compliments to your hard work and the beautiful artwork of your daughter's work. Thank you for sharing and best wishes to your homeschooling.

    Margaret Sadoian
    Elementary School Librarian
    Dinuba, CA

  2. Margaret, thank you so very much for the kind words! What a wonderful message to start my day! I'm glad there are people out there appreciating our ideas! I hope your Book Fair is a success!

    P.S. You have my favorite name, as that is Maggie's given name! :)