On the first day of L's summer holidays we sat down together and made a list of all of the things she'd like to learn about and do this summer. One of the first things on the list was the Solar System. The first thing we did was to get some books out of the library. We found several but the one that was the most useful was Starting With Space: The Planets by Cynthia Pratt Nicolson. Not only did this book have lots of information at L's level but it also has lots of experiments or "try its".
This time around instead of preparing all of the materials for L before hand we worked on them together. After reading the books together we made some three part cards of the planets. We found pictures on Google Images and then wrote some facts about each planet on the back.
Next we made some felt planets to go with the cards. I got the idea for from Counting Coconuts. Instead of sewing though we just glue guned them together and they took no time at all. L also helped with the tracing, colors, sizes and cutting out.
Here's L reading some info about each planet and then matching the card and the felt planet.
Here's the finished product.
One of the "try its" in the book was to measure the distance between the planets. It talked about how scientists use Astronomical Units and one AU is the distance from the Sun to Earth. L measured with her foot. Mercury at the instep of her foot(heel against the sun), Venus at the joint of her big toe and Earth at the tip of her big toe. Mars 1 1/2 steps from the sun, Jupiter 5 steps, Saturn 9 1/2 steps, Uranus19 steps and Neptune 30 steps. Wow no wonder Neptune is the coldest planet!!
Another "try it" was to compare the size of the planets. We just used a big yellow box for the sun. A pea for Mercury, two plums for Venus and Earth, a raspberry for Mars(which I now see is in the wrong spot!), I calls for a watermelon for Jupiter but we didn't have one so we used L's ball. A cantaloup for Saturn and two nectarines for Uranus and Neptune. This was very helpful in realising how drastically different the planets are in size.
We are both loving learning about the Solar System and I'm learning just as much a L!! Stay tuned for more....