Friday, October 28, 2011

Solar System Fun

Skipper wrapped up his first lesson from Exploring Creation with Astronomy. What fun we had! When we changed up his science, I made a promise to myself not to rush it, and to have fun with it. I planned on average, to give two weeks for each lesson to finish with the reading, lapbook work, experiments, and fun stuff to go along with it. The first lesson was all about astronomy in general (solar system, planets, what is astronomy, etc.).

Make a Model Scale of the Solar System

With all the chilly, rainy weather we have been having I had planned on the kids making a solar system out of clay. However, we had a short Indian Summer spell, and we took advantage! I thought the kids could gather similar-sized objects to the list below and we could measure the distance from the sun, but then we came up with the idea to use our sidewalk chalk. Perfect! Then we could color the planets the color they were in the book. Here are the sizes and distance from the sun to make your very own scale:
  • Sun (27-inch, put at the head of the line)
  • Mercury (pea size, 1.75 inches)
  • Venus (pea size, 3.25 inches)
  • Earth (pea size, 4.5 inches)
  • Mars (pea size, 7 inches)
  • Jupiter (orange size 2 feet)
  • Saturn (tangerine size, 3 feet 7 inches)
  • Uranus (walnut size, 7 feet 3 inches)
  • Neptune (walnut size, 11 feet 4 inches)
  • Pluto (pea size, 14 feet 10 inches) - Officially not a planet but we included it because people still debate this.
A fruit/vegetable model of the solar system would be fun too. Or use the classic styrofoam balls and paint to make a model for the bedroom.

Cookie Fun

Inspired by some cookie fun at Shower of Roses, we baked up this delicious, sweet "snack" to wrap up lesson 1. I probably would have skipped this except that I was already baking some cookies for our parish's All Saints party. The kids sure loved it!

Cut-Out Cookie Dough
  • 2 c. gluten-free flour mix (just flours, nothing else added)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4. tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. Spectrum shortening
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer whisked with 2 Tbsp. warm water
  • 2-3 Tbsp. rice milk
Preheat the oven to 375. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (I've long since invested in a silpat baking liner like this one).

Cream together the shortening and sugar until fluffy. While it creams, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. To the shortening/sugar bowl, add the vanilla and "egg" and mix for 2-3 minutes. Add the flour mix in two batches, alternating with 1 Tbsp. rice milk. Add an additional Tbsp. of rice milk if needed at the end to make a nice, non-sticky cookie dough.

Dump ball out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll to about 1/4-inch and cut-out in desired shapes. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool in pan for 2 minutes before removing to cooling rack. Continue until all the dough is gone.

**To decorate for the planets, I colored some sugar earlier in the day (just sugar and drops of food coloring) and let dry. After the kids cut out the cookies, they rubbed on the desired colored sugar before baking.

And tonight we had an extra-special treat of lighting a fire, seeing (the few) stars and Jupiter in the night sky, along with a warm marshmallow. It is definitely a night for a cup of something warm in your hands as I went in after a short bout outside shivering and shaking from cold.

1 comment:

Thank you for stopping by. I love to chat. God bless!