Astronomy in Kindergarten

 

Astronomy is a great topic but also a challenge to teach in Kindergarten  since some children are still struggling to keep track of time and spacial orientation.

The main goal is to  develop fundamental understandings of our solar system.

First of all they have to learn about gravity and to achieve this concept they experiment with magnets. They then made predictions and reached  the conclusion that magnets attract some metals.

 

Then, thanks to Google Earth, we took off from school and went far enough to find out that we live on a sphere, Planet Earth. It is not flat and wherever you are, you will not fall. Why?

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Because of gravity. Our planet is a sort of great magnet that pulls on everything. So you need to ride in a rocket to lift off.

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Let´s introduce another ball which is not a planet, but a star. The one in the middle,  the Sun. A big burning ball of fire. Our planet travels around it.

Sit down in a circle, hold on to Planet Earth and pass it on please.

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We see how the Sun lights us up our planet,  that happens all day long, but what about at night?

Earth is spinning as it orbits the Sun. As parts of the Earth spin away from the Sun, they move out of its light into darkness ( night ). So the  Sun doesn´t  come out at night.

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It´s time to learn how Planet Earth spins and orbits the Sun while the moon ( which is not a planet, but our satellite ) travels around the Earth. It´s hard to do it with their hands .

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but we are not alone, we have neighbors. This is a family of eight planets which spin,

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( sorry Pluto, we´re not counting on you ) and this family is called the solar system. Planets follow  a path around the Sun, the orbit, so some are close to the sun and some are far. The best place to see it is in the playground.

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Some children noticed that the planets farthest away take longer to orbit.

So each planet is given the picture of a newborn. Eight babies for the eight planets. After orbiting one lap the baby on planet Earth turns one year old (Happy Birthday).

 

 

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and here you are the planets

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So How can we visit our neighbors ?

Let´s  start with the Moon. We need a rocket, space suits and astronauts.

We are on a space mission. We are going to the Moon to fetch a rock. There is no air, so you can´t find plants or animals.

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Did you see how far he jumped?

On the moon you can jump six times the distance you do on planet Earth. Why?

Because of its gravity, wich is weaker. But if you travel to Jupiter you will walk as if you were carrying another child as heavy as you.

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On the moon we saw lots of craters, and there are also in Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.

Some craters are made by rocks hitting the ground. Between Mars And jupiter is located the asteroid belt. Millions of rocks orbiting around the Sun, sometimes they crash and blow up into many pieces heading in every direction.

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Asteroid belt

With a set of marbles in different sizes we throw them into a box filled with flour and see how the craters change depending on the size and the speed.

 

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Finally we discuss about what we have learnt, and  get  ready to learn about dinosaurs and their extinction. ( Sorry, but I don´t have pictures of all the students. Next time ).

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