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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Our Space Inquiry

The kids have been asking a lot of questions about space. I started out by setting out some invitations to learn around the room for them to explore the Earth and the moon during Thinking, Learning and Dicovering Time, inviting them to look closer and document what they noticed. 



We looked closer at maps and the kids created their own maps of a community complete with symbols,  a key, and a rose compass.


They kept asking what the earth was made of so we investigated the inside of the earth and documented what we learned.


In Writer's Workshop we are investigating, enjoying, and writing poetry so we worked together to create a beautiful poem about the earth.


Some kids decided as they were playing that they wanted to use different materials to measure how big around the earth was.


Some areas invited them to show what they knew about the moon. 



This class is so crazy about clay that I had to let them show what they noticed about the phases of the moon using clay!



They also learned that the craters were formed by meteors hitting the surface of the moon. Here they could explore how that happened. 


Books were set out at the writing area to encourage kids to write about the earth and the moon. 


Many books were written not only about the earth and the moon, but the sun, stars and planets also. The kids have started putting teasers on the back of their books to get others to read them!


Pictures were set up at the easel to encourage them to show what they noticed about the moon and earth through art. 



We mixed flour with white paint to create a painting with a textured surface of the moon. They used a bottle to create craters on he surface than wrote a fact about the moon.




We made a giant mural using the textured paint to show what we learned about the phases of the moon. The kids labeled each phase. 



They found out that on the moon they could jump six times further than here on earth. They had so much fun seeing how far they could jump if they were on the moon!


They marked how far they would be able to jump by sticking a piece of tape on the spot and writing their name on it.



We also investigated the sun. They learned that it was the center of our solar system and that even though it looks like the sun is moving across the sky, really it is the earth spinning like a top, not the sun moving, that makes it appear to go around the sky. 

They also learned that it takes one yeR for the earth to travel around the sun. They wrote and illustrated how many times they have traveled around the sun so far!



We were witnessing some beautiful sunsets so I put out warm colors and sunset pictures for inspiration at the easels. 




The kids were surprised to find out that the sun was made out of gasses and not hot lava! This started a discussion about the states of matter. We talked about how everything is a solid, liquid or gas. We were also talking about the Suns heat energy! I figured out a great way to show both! We took chocolate chips out in the sun and observed what happened. They saw that the Sun's heat energy turned them into a liquid! We dipped pretzels into the warmed chocolate and enjoyed a sun baked treat!




New areas were set up around our room to explore stars.  I set up areas for them to create constellations using different materials. 








As we researched, we found out that stars are not all white and that their color shows how hot the stars are. The red are the coolest and the blue are the hottest.


A group wanted to make a universe of stars so they used cotton swabs and paint to create one. 



Our building area became a display area for our universe. 


Mrs. Thompson let us borrow her planets to hang on the ceiling. The kids referred to these often!


We had fun creating sight word constalations with push pins! 


Mrs. Gore let us borrow her Universe Sight Word Search.


We used stars to practice our addition skills. 


I displayed Van Gogh's Starry Night with some glass beads and was AMAZED at what some kids created! They collaborated and worked as a team to create their Starry Night with the loose parts!



Some asked of they could paint Starry Night so I moved the picture and put out similar colors for them. They did a beautiful job!



We created web maps to organize our data.


I put out recyclables at the engineering table and challenged them to make Space Ships! This was a huge hit! They were so creative as they planned out thief designs and then followed their plan. 




Some also created space ships which our pattern blocks. 




Lastly we started investigating the planets. They loved creating planet sculptures and other planet inspired art.




The kids wrote informational books about the planets. 


The kids worked together to paint the planets and then add them to our universe. 




I love following the kids interests and digging deeper. In the past, when I taught using themes, a space unit would have lasted two weeks. These kids have been investigating space for around six weeks! Their learning is so much deeper, their experiences so much richer, when you follow their interests and get rid of your time limits!

17 comments:

  1. Yes!! I love this so much and love your blog! I realized by the end of this kindergarten year, most of my pinned ideas were from your blog. You are doing amazing things with these children and it shows in their work. So inspiring!

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  2. I'm an ECE student and I have to say your work is so inspirational! You really follow the children's lead and have amazing ideas for experiences!!!! Amazing

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  3. I love lots of the ideas here! We used your idea to use flour paint to paint the phases of the moon, and we may bring in the starry night ideas for next class! Check out all our activities related to the solar system and space travel at https://inventorsoftomorrow.com/2017/02/14/planets-and-space-travel/

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    1. Oh my goodness that was wonderful!!!! I will be using your post for inspiration also! You did so many amazing things with those kids! I'll bet they loved it!! Thank you for sharing with me!
      Sincerely,
      Darla Myers

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  4. Darla,
    I have to say, your activities with the kids are fantastic! I am a mom of 4 and a grad student in Early Childhood Education and there wasn't anything in this post that i didn't want to try! I absolutely LOVE the connectivity from one lesson to the next and the way you tie in art and math and writing all together. I believe THIS is what learning should be. You are a wonderful teacher!

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  5. Whoa!!! I teach fourth grade and some of these activities I want to use for my students as we study space. Amazing job!

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  6. This is incredible! I truly enjoyed your detailed descriptions and amazing pictures. Thank you for sharing and inspiring me with so many ideas.

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  7. Love this post and love what you're doing in your classroom! Here's a YouTube channel that I think you and your kids might like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXpmM7BzTfI

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  8. Amazing ideas thank you for sharing. Very inspiring

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  9. I am a Mom and found your blog via Pinterest as I was searching for party ideas for my son's upcoming astronaut birthday party. I am literally in tears after reading this post, as I can't help thinking what amazing wonder and curiosity you are inspiring in your students. I would only hope my kids have a Kindergarten experience like this one - wow. I am so inspired to foster more of this within our own home - thank you for all you do to inspire, educate and lead our children to teach themselves. You are a gift.

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  10. What a fabulous way to inquire.
    I loved all these ideas.
    Thank you for sharing.

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  11. Mrs. Myers, I am graduating this semester as a Early Childhood Educator. I was wondering, you mentioned you had previously used standard curriculum to teach lessons but moved away from this to support 'inquiry-based learning'. This is so very inspiring. I was wondering however, how your principal and school board support your teaching. It appears that public school curriculum are pretty strict, at least here in Canada. I was surprised that you are able to do this in the public sector.
    Thanks for your energy and creativity, I'm a huge fan.
    Best,
    Allison

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