Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mini Unit - Space

The great thing about putting this unit together is that it was pretty much already put together. (You may recall we spent the month of January focusing on space.) There are some new things, but for the most part I reused many of the same materials and, because I'm lazy (and very pregnant), I'm reusing many of the photos and text from my January post, too. :) Just note that the trays aren't included in the mini unit.

~an overview~

Here's a closer look at what's inside this unit:
Felt Planets (Sensorial/Just For Fun!) Made these myself and I'm proud to say they've held up quite well considering how much they've been loved. :)

Poetry Basket (Language). I made the sun out of felt, the Earth came from the top of a Toob, and the little baggies is filled with star shaped beads.

Worksheets (Language/Math/Art/Science). Many of these worksheets were found in various places around the web - Google Images, Making Learning Fun, abcteach, and Homeschool Creations Astronaut Preschool Pack.

Lacing (Practical Life). I found this image on Google, laminated it and then punched in holes about 1" apart.

Stamping Stars (Practical Life/Art). This is a self-inking star-shaped stamper and a little booklet of scrap paper stapled together. Simple, but fun!

Skip Counting (Math). This counting mat came from here. I made that little blue envelope as well as the ones in a few of the other photos. They're really easy to make and perfect for small cards that would normally slide around on a tray. I made my own version after watching this video.

Life Cycle of a Star (Science). I made these myself! This is very similar to the phases of the moon work in that James will need to order the cycle according to the control chart. As with all of these activities, I keep it light and fun - I am well aware of the fact that James is only FOUR and so there's no need to delve into the cosmological significance of black holes or anything. ;D The important thing to me is the fact that he LOVES doing this kind of stuff!

Phases of the Moon Cards (Science). We use these regularly on our classroom calendar, but I'm putting them all on the shelf along with the control chart.

Build A Rocket (Math/Sensorial). I found this idea on Making Learning Fun, but I modified and recreated it with card stock and added a 6th shape to account for the 6 on the die.

Solar System Flashcards (Science/Language). These cards have really beautiful photos and are full of significant, yet easy to follow facts on the reverse sides. You can buy them through Montessori Services.

Space Magnet Pages (Language). I don't actually use magnets with these, I use flat marbles instead. These came from Making Learning Fun.

Memory/Matching Games (Language/Sensorial/Science). These are three separate games focusing on planets, parts of the Earth, and constellations.

Space Mat (Science). These little things are the UK version of Shrinky Dinks (they sell A LOT of UK brands here). Basically they are drawings cast on to plastic sheets which you then color and heat in the oven. They shrink down and become very sturdy. The solar system mat came with the kit.

Pin Punching (Practical Life). I found these jumbo pins at the dollar store and printed out the constellation cards from here. The added bonus to this activity is that once James has them all punched we'll go into a dark room, shine a flashlight behind them and project the images onto a wall!

Books (Language). My Place in Space by Joan Sweeney; There's No Place Like Space by Dr. Seuss; and On The Moon by Anna Milbourne.

Cards & Counters (Math). I made these cards and used stone pebbles ("moon rocks") as the counters.

Astronaut Figurines (Just For Fun!).

Planets (Science/Sensorial/Just For Fun!). These are made of styrofoam (I think). I found them at the local thrift shop. They aren't the greatest, but James loved using them in our space lessons.

Planet Photos (Science). Not sure who makes these (another thrifty find), but their large size and detail make them perfect for studying.

Solar System Card (Science/Just For Fun!). My wonderful sister in law sent this card to James. It is SO cool! Pop up things have come such a long way since my childhood days!

Three Part Space Cards (Science/Language).

All packed and ready to explore!

~Click the button below to view more of our mini units.~

~Thank you for your comments!~


Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing all of these wonderful ideas!! The links are so very helpful!!

Susana of Montessori Candy said...

wow, Wow, WOW! Very Awesome Mari-Ann! You did a GREAT job with this one! I'm very impressed. You have a great talent for putting materials together. I'd love to read a post on how you manage your time to get it all in! Thank you for inspiring us!

jess_hak said...

These 'mini' units are incredible and there is nothing mini about them. :) I also really like how they fit nicely into a little box.....hmmmm something for me to think about. :)

Anyway, I wanted you to know that I received the package and I just wrote a blog post on it. Feel free to check it out. :) Thank you so much!

Amy said...

you are very inspiring. I do weekly themes with my kids in the summer, but am thinking about doing these mini units during the school year with my little ones that are home. So fun!!!!

Unknown said...

I am loving this mini-unit. So much to do. How do you find the time to create such units? Have you given any thought to how James will be homeschool after the arrival of your new "coconut"? I'm still unsure how to start homeschooling my 3 year old with his baby sister around. One thing is sure, you've got me inspired to figure it out with all these activities I could do with my little boy.

Bld424 said...

Thanks so much for linking up the TOOBs. I am learning so much from you! My kids are younger, so I think by the time they are ready for preschool, I will have so many ideas for them from your site!

Sarah Sterling said...

I love these! I think they are great to use at home and in a classroom. Thanks for sharing!

Waileng Tan said...

Hi Mari-Ann,

Greetings from Malaysia. A few days ago, I came across your blog when I was searching for Montessori materials - which I ended up reading almost all your post (I'm now in December 2010).

What intrigue me most is how you decided to home school your son. It's actually something rare in Malaysia - almost everyone goes to public school. The wealthy goes to private school. Does your son take any public exams?

Henry said...

Thank you for being so detailed in these posts. It really helps those of us that want to do this with our own kids. Thank you.

I wish you good luck with your new baby on the way!

Sheri said...

We are starting our very first unit and are doing outer space, thanks to all your wonderful ideas! I got the outer space Toob and thought it was hilarious that they included a space monkey :)

Abby said...

What a great unit! It's going to be a great help when we study space later in the year. Thank you for all of your hard work!

Unknown said...

I love your post - I used a lot of your ideas in our astronomy studies. Just FYI - the Montessori Printshop packet of moon control card, etc. is INCORRECT. Their control card shows the moon as brightly lit as it blocks the sun. It is black as a full moon. It tosses off each other their depictions of the phases of the moon. We just got it today doing Oreo cookie moon phases and reading the Nat Geo Moon book - love that book....

Unknown said...

I love your blog. Being a Montessori Teacher it's really nice to see such wonderful ideas being implemented in your home.

I am A Montessori teacher with both Montessori and Regular mainstream ed background and have some experience in special needs too. I am currently writing a parent hand book taking the best of everything I have learned along the way. I was thinking about illustrating some of the ideas. I noticed you have a ton of pics on your blog of things similar to what I have mentioned in my book. I was wondering if you would consider letting me use your pictures?

Thanks and keep up the great work!


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