Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Space Lessons

I wanted to share with you all some of the learning fun that took place in our classroom yesterday.

We used some of the materials from our shelves and combined them to create one big interactive lesson. That's the beauty of incorporating a theme throughout each area - each one lends to another (in true Montessori fashion!).

We did a variety of things:
We used our books as a guide and laid the planet cards out in the proper order.

I made up a song to teach the order of the planets and we sang that several times all the while patting each of the planet cards as we sang its name.

We matched the balls to the planet cards and, using our books, talked about the characteristics of each planet. James was SO interested in this - he wasn't content just to know that one side of Mars is freezing cold while the other side is roasting hot; he wanted to know WHY. I'm so going to need to brush up on my space knowledge!

We took turns pretending to be the sun, Earth and moon and we'd circle around one another, simulating the rotation of the Earth and moon. James LOVED this and as he circle around me, holding the Earth, he'd sing, "I'm the Earth, I'm the Earth!". :)

When we talked about the moon we brought out the space figurines from our sensory tub and the "moon rocks" from one of our math activities. James has resolved that he WILL go to the moon someday to play with all the moon rocks and to drive the Lunar Rover. I hope he does!

Here's the song I made up, just in case anyone wants to use it. It's not super creative, but it works:
(To the tune of "Ten Little Indians")
Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune

These eight planets in our solar system

Travel around the sun

Short and sweet! And notice I didn't include Pluto (poor, exiled Pluto!). :)

~Thank you for your comments!~


Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Very fun! You might find this post interesting - http://science-mattersblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/solar-system-planets-to-scale.html. James doesn't need to know all the math behind it, but it's interesting to see how planets differ in size.

The Mom I Want To Be said...

Looks like so much fun! I love when my favorite bloggers do a unit a few weeks ahead of us! Thanks :)

fjkelly said...

What a great way to combine all the activities into so much fun and learning. You are so inspiring! And it's great to see the way James' learning unfolds so naturally as he explores his fascination with the solar system and space.

The girl who painted trees said...

Love the song. Bear loves to learn to music. I'm saving this for when we revisit space in a couple of years. We just did it not long ago.

Leptir (Nataša) said...

You should not be sad because you left out Pluto because it is said that he is no longer a planet - it's too small.

You can read more about it here:

or here:



PS Your solar system activities are
so neat. I love it!

Counting Coconuts said...

Hehe, yes, I know Pluto is no longer considered a regular planet (it's now a dwarf planet) - that's why I didn't include it. I just feel badly because I grew up with Pluto being a planet and I guess in my heart I wish it still were! :)

Thanks for the links, though!

Jessie, The Education Of Ours said...

I feel bad for Pluto, too.

James looks so very happy with his work. Great job!!

Deborah Stewart said...

I love it! Very interactive:)

Fiona said...

looks great fun! You are so creative-I just love your ideas. Although as I don't homeschool and I work 3 days a week, I would never have time to do everything you do but I find your blog invaluable for ideas to keep my two amused!
Just noticed too-your son has the same birthday as my son although mine is a year younger)

Unknown said...

Where did you find the planets? They are adorable - and a great size too!

Anonymous said...

oohh my word does James look ever so happy to be learning about outerspace! Isn't it so fun to teach them about something they are just so fascinated by! They are like sponges when they love the material!

Lynn said...

I love all of your ideas and your fun approach. We've been studying a lot of space lately too. I just posted about it today (and linked back to your post): http://infantbibliophile.blogspot.com/2011/01/weekly-wrap-up-space-study-preschool.html

Deb Chitwood said...

Such great activities! I, too, am sad about Pluto. And feeling very old. Even though my daughter took college astronomy at age 15, Pluto was still a major planet at the time! (It was exiled the next year, though.) I featured this post and your other space posts at http://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/01/17/activity-of-the-week-montessori-inspired-astronomy-activities/

swarna said...

The planet cards are beautiful. My son also loves anything about planets. Where did you get the planet cards from?.


Aimée said...

Hi Mari-Ann
Where did you get your planet cards? They are fab. Great soze for little hands!

Counting Coconuts said...

Thanks so much for your comments!

@Swarna & Aimee, I'm sorry but I don't recall where I found the cards as I purchased them about 3 years ago. I'll let you know if ever I do remember. :)

The Activity Mom said...

Love the song! =)

Counting Coconuts said...

@Swarna & Aimee: I bought the cards through Montessori Services: http://www.montessoriservices.com/space-cards?q=C408



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