Friday, March 2, 2012

Exploring Earth

Next stop on our Astronomy path was Earth. After reading the lesson from Jeannie Fulbright's Exploring Creation with Astronomy, we did a little hands-on Earth exploration.

What do you call that? Oh yeah, gravity! Super simple. All you need is a ball and a willing child. Throw the ball up and watch it come down. What makes it do that? Gravity!

Watching the Earth spin? Cool! My picture was taken during the day, but you need to do this at night, when the stars are visible. Tape a piece of paper to a window. Sketch in the horizon line. Mark a prominent star. Wait an hour or so. Come back and mark the new position of that same star. See, the Earth is spinning! (Idea taken from You'd Never Believe it but... There's a Great Bear in the Sky and Other Facts About Stars by Helen Taylor - a very fun book for pre-k to early elementary years).

Make your own homemade compass using a plastic lid, cork, needle, and magnet. Honestly, not so much fun. Yeah, the needle moved but you had to keep "charging" it up and it wasn't moveable so where's the fun in that?

As an unexpected bonus, we ran across the book, The Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth by Joanna Cole at the library. Skipper really enjoys the Magic School Bus books. Personally, I feel like I am all over the place when I read it. I have learned to read the text and only add in some of the extras and quotes if it flows naturally with text (I scan it quickly as I read the other text). Another way to read the books would be to read the text only in one reading and go back slowly, filling in with the extras and looking at the pictures more closely. Maybe I will try that next time. This particular book only had a little bit on the Earth's layers. Mainly it dealt with the crust and the types of rocks you find there. Still, it was informative, and definitely had Skipper wondering if you could actually take a trip to the center of the Earth (you cannot, you know, just in case you were wondering!).

Right now we are visiting the moon and are looking forward to some hands-on fun next week! By the way, last night was a beautiful night to take a peek at some constellations as well as three planets in the sky: Venus, Jupiter, and Mars. Very cool!

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