Saturday, June 29, 2013

Astronomy Class - Mars!

So we became martians for the day and explored Mars!  The first thing we did was to review the vocabulary of this weeks Chapter on Mars.
Then we had the two families who made their homemade telescopes from last weeks study, show their designs and explain what they did to make them.  They all were given tubes, a pair of reading glasses from the dollar store (they would pop them out of the frames and use them for their telescopes) and then instructions in the Apologia book were used.

There were then four stations for the kids to rotate groups through for our study.  Then we ended with a volcanic eruption for the kids!  The first station my group went through, was to build an ecosystem out of the legos, lincoln logs, little people and a plastic tub using their imaginations.  They were both very different and good.  It's fun to see the thought processes of girls verses boys in this type of activity.  The girls of course, thought of the need for gardening (food supply), housing being pretty/functional, had borders and their design had a lot of people.  Their design was appealing to the eyes, orderly and accessible.  The boys seemed more interested in building more of an industrial type building with an underground "camp" type setting and it had....yes, you guessed it....vehicles of course and there were only a few "functional" people with no border.  Sounds about right doesn't it?  :)

The next activity that the kids did was to race through the Solar System.  The kids answered questions regarding the past several chapters that were covered and each right answer allowed them to move up a planet to ultimately make it to the Sun.
Following this the kids set up what will be an experiment showing how rust is made.  They were to log the results of each day for the week we'll be apart and report those finding when we reconvene.  It consisted of putting sand into two containers, adding pieces of steel wool shredded up and then one of the containers was wet and would be re-wet each day for the week.  The kids were to log the results of both containers (wet and dry with the steel in it) and report their findings next Wednesday.  Mars surface consists of iron that has "rusted".     

Next the kids were to try and devise using a string, cup, some marbles and a target - a way for goods to be delivered to the ecosystems that scientists would like to build on Mars.  

Next the kids painted their Earth models from last week and built their Mars models for this week.  This is all made out of salt dough- since they are terrestrial planets so far, we've just used salt dough.  Next week will be a gaseous planet and we'll have to use a different medium for that.  :)  

Lastly, the kids watched as our "volcano erupted"!  This represented Olympus Mons, the largest mountain peak in the entire Solar System, which happens to be a volcano on the surface of Mars.  


  1. Do you have plans for your Astronomy Group? Are all of your activities out of the Exploring Creation With Astronomy Book or have you added to it? I am looking to do a group like this with a friend and don't want to reinvent the wheel:) Love your blog! Wonderful ideas!

    1. Upon further reading I see the projects are mainly from the book and the journal. Thank you for giving me a visual reference! Can't wait to start the book this fall!