I have been wanting to do a space unit study with the kids. I had planned to do this at the start of the school year but I didn’t have a space bin ready, so I waited until I had some items accumulated. I have several books ready, a telescope, some worksheets to make a lapbook, and have been collecting mini space stuff to make a space exploration sensory bin.
For at least the past six months, the kids have been missing a few toys they thought they had. He, he, he, he…mom was sneaky! If they got something space like to play with, and a few weeks would go by and they quit playing with it, and if mom finds it, then it went in the bin.
For storage purposes, I kept everything in a small clear bin that fit on a shelf in my storage room. But when I was ready to assemble it, I put it into a large black bin to resemble being in outer space.
Yeah! I am finally ready to do our space study and build and use this bin. Here is what I have been collecting.
The base layer has lots of black and clear beads of different sizes and shapes. Then I added small dark blue, light blue pompoms and small black, blue, metallic, and other color marbles. the next size was medium black pompoms, and medium silver white pompoms (these look awesome). Then I layers in larger marbles that resembled planets. Also a yellow golf ball that looks like a sun. Some zoob balls that resemble meteors. We had some glass beads, glass drop shaped spheres, and glass star shaped rocks too.
The middle layer has all the planets in our galaxy, a moveable globe of earth, a large yellow golf ball for a sun, wooden stars, black and blue snap cubes that connect to build stuff or have holes that can be laced with string. I added black string and gold string too. Star shaped cookie cutters can be filled, used to trace, laced with string, or play with playdough, etc. There are also lots of glow in the dark stars, comets, and planets.
The top layer has lots of astronauts in white and orange. A poseable astronaut with a removable helmet and backpack. Lots of rockets, space ships, satellites, space centers, space capsules, land rovers, a wind up land rover, a lego moon explorer, a transformer space explorer, and another special space explorer that came with the poseable astronaut.
This bin has so much to see and do. I love it! All the kids love it too.
This bin really captures the interest of the older kids too. The first and third grader are busy playing and the fifth grader is drawing items in the tub! Yahoo!
One of the activities we explored in the bin was the glow in the dark planets and stars. The kids had so much fun with a flashlight, dark rooms, and holding glowing planets.
We will be learning lots about space related science stuff in the next few weeks. I love this bin because it has so many hands on realistic science objects that we can use as props in our study in addition to just having lots of fun playing with them. Check back soon for some space exploration adventures!
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No Time For Flash Cards
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Category Archives: Space Unit Study
Today we attended the NASA Celebration at the Roper Mountain Science Museum in Greenville, South Carolina.
Each month, the Roper Mountain Science Museum has a special focus on the second Saturday of the month. This time, it was learning about Space Exploration and NASA.
The kids were so excited to talk to the NASA Representative about space suits, space food, and how the astronaut stays healthy when up in space with zero gravity for six months at a time. If they did not eat well, exercise, and maintain their temperature, they would could die or come back to earth severly debilitated. They have to maintain very good physical condition to fly space missions in outer space.
The food was dehydrated in small packets and the children thought this was really gross. The food did not look yummy at all. The drink pouches were empty except for a small amount of dried flavoring. They hook up the spout to a water source on the space ship and fill their drink. The fella from NASA explained that they still needed to eat a balanced diet and the astronauts are allowed to choose their dehydrated food as long as it remains balanced.
Their dried food packets are velcro onto to a meal tray so they don’t float around.
The children were able to try on a glove and a helmet from an astronaut suit. The suits the astronauts wear are made of many different layers to protect the astronaut and keep him or her warm. It is extremely thick. One thing NASA is doing for the future is to have mechanical human like robots to be the astronauts and make the repairs and explorations needed outside of the space ship, as it is so cold and dangerous for humans.
Then we went inside the NASA trailer and it was set up with dozens of video screens with information about different aspects of space exploration.
Some of the areas discussed were:
Materials of Space Suits and Space Vehicles
And a real moon rock. This rock came from the moon. It is one of only 8 specimens in the world on display for the public to view. The children were able to touch and learn about the rock.
The highlight for us was talking to a NASA Representative inside the trailer. Right off the bat, we had some things in common. He was from Bloomington, Indiana. We were from Indiana too.
He had attended Perdue University in Indiana, and completed a mechanical engineering degree. He did an internship on campus that was sponsored by NASA. When he was done with his studies and earned his degree, NASA hired him and moved him to Houston Texas to work for them. WOW!
We talked with him about so much that I can’t even tell you all of it. One serious subject was what course of study or specialization NASA was looking for in employees, and he said “all fields of engineering”. To build, fly, and maintain space craft and work with the dynamics of space exploration, all fields of engineering are necessary to make it possible to do this.
It was a very productive discussion for this 11 year old, who is ready to fly a space craft into space! Hope he can wait a few more years yet.
The kids left here today with a bag full of NASA goodies, and a whole new appreciation for space exploration.
There was much more to see and do at the Roper Mountain Science Museum today, and I will write another post with a link HERE as I get the story written.