Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Astronomy: Fun with the Sun


Skipper wrapped up his second Astronomy lesson (The Sun) a few weeks ago from the book, Exploring Creation with Astronomy by Jeannie Fulbright. He is really loving Astronomy and is eager to continue - right after Thanksgiving with Mercury. Though he is devouring all he can thanks to Dad on other topics, like the moon, black holes, and more.
Besides reading the chapter and following up with the lapbook, Skipper was able to do a few hands-on experiments. The first experiment, testing the power of the sun, was meant to be done during the hottest months of the year so I was doubtful that it would work. However, we lucked out and had a few amazing sunny days and no-jacket days so we headed out to try our luck. The experiment uses two things: a magnifying glass and some chocolate. I chose dry leaves instead, thinking they would be more likely to catch on fire than a piece of chocolate at this time of year. And I am glad that I did because it worked! We happily spent quite a bit of time charring leaves on the driveway. Skipper struggled a bit at first trying to focus the sun's light, but eventually he got the hang of it and went to town. Critter joined the action, but I definitely had to help him more. They had so much fun that later they had to do it with Dad - using the deck rail as backdrop! Good thing the sun wasn't at it's full power!




The other experiment we did was to illustrate a solar eclipse using a flashlight, a globe, and "moon" (in our case, a small toy ball with yarn tied to it). I think we needed a darker room - still had those sunny days, long ago the memory seems - but it worked out fine enough that the boys got the gist. And had fun playing with it themselves. The power of flashlights.


The book also suggested making a solar eclipse viewer (similar to one like this - scroll down for instructions), but since our next solar eclipse (partial one) that we might be able to see is not until May 21, 2012, I thought this could wait until then and be a Dad/boys adventure.

All in all, a success, and I am so glad we switched up science!

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