A couple weeks ago, we finished our Space Science unit from The Good and the Beautiful, and we had SO MUCH FUN with it! I even learned a lot myself! Now, before I get into this post, I just want to say this right up front. This science unit is designed to be pretty open-and-go (aside from collecting materials needed for activities). It works totally great on its own!
This is our 5th year homeschooling, and until this year, I have just followed these science units as they are, and they are great! But, this year, I felt ready to try to add in a little more and see how it went. So, we stuck to the outline of the unit as a spine for our study, but threw in some fun extras: picture books about space, documentaries, videos, and a few extra activities.
I know it’s time-consuming to put a supplement together, so I wanted to share what we did here in case you are looking for easy ideas. My kids are 8, 6, 3, and 1 and when I add things in to our curriculum, I try really hard to maximize their short attention spans and meet them at their level. I want it to be something they will be interested in, but also something that will help enhance their learning. I know my kids well enough to know I can’t put too much in here or they will start dropping like flies! If your kids aren’t enjoying it, trust me, you won’t either.
These supplements really helped add a lot of visuals that helped my kids solidify their understanding of the lessons. But, I still kept everything simple enough to do with 4 young kids underfoot! Be sure to bookmark this page, so you can come back to it whenever you want during your study!
Lesson 1: Intro to Space
On our intro day, I just showed the kids our new science binders and the books we would be reading. We didn’t end up supplementing with anything here, but you could read some of the books listed below or watch a solar system video if you want to add something in!
Quick note: If you have an older child, I highly recommend the DK Smithsonian SPACE! book to read throughout this unit. My 8-year-old devoured this and learned SO much!
Lesson 2: Stars
VIDEO: The Magic School Bus Sees Stars (Season 4, episode 7) *The Magic School Bus is currently on Netflix if you have that and you may be able to piece together a full episode on Youtube. We bought the whole dvd set several years ago because I love this series so much, and it’s been so nice to have!
ACTIVITY: Van Gogh’s Starry Night Painting (it would be fun to do a little unit study on Van Gogh during this time too! Check out our Van Gogh study to see how we did Starry Night)
Lesson 3: The Solar System and the Sun
VIDEO: The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space (Season 1, Episode 1)
ACTIVITY: solar system model and/or lego solar system (We took the lazy route this time and bought this one, but Pinterest has tons of ideas for making your own!)
Lesson 4: The Terrestrial Planets – Mercury and Venus
BOOK: DK Smithsonian The Planets: Mercury and Venus sections
VIDEO: Exploring our Solar System
Lesson 5: The Terrestrial Planets: Earth and Mars
BOOKS: You are the First Kid on Mars, Curiosity: The Story of Mars Rover, Max Goes to Mars, Welcome to Mars! Making a Home on the Red Planet** This one has lots of great activities for learning about Mars.
ACTIVITIES: Mars activity from The Good and the Beautiful unit; “Swiss cheese terrain” (my son’s favorite) and any other activities from the Welcome to Mars! book
Lesson 6: The Moon and Its Phases
ACTIVITY: oreo/sugar cookie moon phases, moon phases glue resist watercolor activity
Lesson 7: Gravity and the Tides
VIDEO: The Magic School Bus Gains Weight (Season 4, Episode 8)
BOOKS: Gravity by Jason Chin
Lesson 8: Asteroids, Comets, Meteors, and Meteoroids
VIDEO: The Magic School Bus Out of this World (Season 2, Episode 24)
Lesson 9: The Gas Giants: Jupiter and Saturn
BOOK: DK Smithsonian The Planets: Jupiter and Saturn sections
Lesson 10: The Gas Giants: Uranus and Neptune
BOOK: DK Smithsonian The Planets: Uranus and Neptune sections
Lesson 11: The History of Astronomy:
Lesson 12: Galileo
BOOK: Who Was Galileo?
VIDEO: Galileo Galilei for Kids, Super Why Galileo’s Space Adventure (Season 2 Episode 15)
Lessons 13-15: Space Exploration
Lesson 16: Constellations
ACTIVITIES: marshmallows and toothpick constellations, star stickers and chalk to make constellations, finding constellations in the night sky, constellation apps on phone
Extra books we read throughout
- Reaching for the Moon
- Starstruck: the cosmic journey of Neil Degrasse
- Mae Among the Stars
- The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon
- One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong
- The Darkest Dark
- DK Space!
This unit was so much fun, and I hope this gives you some fun ideas on things to supplement with if you’re wanting to dive into it a bit more!
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