Here are the highlights from our unit study of the moon:
On Wednesday, Hannah used a white crayon to draw the different phases of the moon on black construction paper. We cut them apart and played a little game where I'd say the name of the phase and she'd hold up the correct picture. Of course, with Hannah being—well—Hannah, that wasn't quite good enough, so she soon devised a set of rules of her own. I am proud to say that I was able to deviate from the written instructions and just go with the flow, and everything turned out okay! Just wanted to document that so I can go back and remind myself of it as needed.
Thursday's activity was so much fun! It was designed for Hannah to see both the size and the distance of the sun, moon, and earth in relation to each other. First, we cut out a sun, moon, and earth to scale. (Warning: Moment of self-pity coming up in 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1) Imagine with me for a moment how difficult it is to teach a 5-year-old what "scale" means. I ended up using her dollhouse as an example. We talked about how it looks like a real house that someone just shrunk down, and everything in it was also shrunk down to the correct size so the kitchen table and chairs fit correctly in that house and the bed fits correctly in that house, etc. Then I showed her the table and chairs she and Millie sit at when they play in the playroom and said, "Would it make much sense for someone to give us this toy dollhouse and say, 'These are the chairs and table that go with it?'" Her face did that "ah-ha" thing and she said "no," so I think she got it.
Anyway, after cutting out our moon, sun, and earth, we were ready to go outside and measure away. But first, of course, we took a picture. Can you believe how HUGE the sun is? That's six—count 'em, SIX—pieces of posterboard! The moon was 1/8" (a holepunch), the earth was 1/2", and the sun was a whopping 4'4"! Keep this picture in mind when you get to the end of today's project! And can you believe how far away from Earth the moon is? We read that it took the Apollo spacecraft three days to get to the moon. I can see why when I look at this picture!
We decided to hang our sun on the mailbox because, honestly, where else are you going to hang a 4'4" sun? The sun had to be 461 feet away from the earth, so the measuring began. This was one day I was VERY happy to be a coach's wife! We used one of the measuring tapes they use for football, which is a 100' tape. Very handy for a project like this! Here's Hannah measuring our first 100 feet.
And here she is after all 461 feet. Notice the sun in the background? If you squint really hard you can see it hanging on the mailbox. (You may have to click the picture to enlarge it.) Can you believe how small it looks? Not much bigger than the moon! This helped Hannah understand that the sun and the moon aren't the same size even though they appear to be. The sun is just so far away that it looks a lot smaller than it really is. She was also able to see that the moon is MUCH closer to us than the sun is, even though they look like they're about the same distance away when we see them in the sky.
Thursday was also the day Hannah got her new badge. We talked about how the moon reflects the sun's light, and how when we know Jesus, His light shines on us and we become like a light to help other people find Him. Her special words to remember this week are "I am the light of the world."
Friday's project was postponed until Saturday because of the lock-in, so on Saturday evening, Greg and Hannah built a spaceship. Greg did most of the major assembly, and Hannah added what can only be described as spaceship heiroglyphics to the inside. She drew a panel of buttons, one of which she told us was the power button; astronauts; a special bed to strap herself into so she could sleep (from an astronaut movie we checked out from the library); and footprints like the ones Neil Armstrong left on the moon. Then she and Greg added a paper plate steering wheel (hey, it could happen) and a chair for her to sit it while she "drove."
The best part was watching her pack. She took a Wal-Mart bag into her kitchen and emptied all of her food into it. Then she got her backpack because astronauts have to have a special backpack with air in it so they can breathe on the moon. On the movie we watched, she learned that a monkey named HAM went into space. She didn't have a monkey to take in her spaceship, so she grabbed her lamb instead. Then she went into the bathroom and grabbed all of her soap and shampoo. (Apparently girls will be girls, whether on Earth or on the moon!) Next, she grabbed her experiment (the grapes that are trying oh-so-hard to become raisins) because every astronaut has to have an experiment on her spaceship, and finally she added a moon rock.
Greg had just mowed earlier in the day, and Hannah made a huge pile from the grass cuttings and pretended they were the moon. We put her spaceship on it, and she went about her astronaut business until we made her go inside because the mosquitoes were out of control.
And last night, Hannah had some friends over for dinner. We read a very sweet book called The Moon Might Be Milk with her friends, and then the kids used the recipe in the back of the book to make cookies. They were a lot of fun to make and even more fun to eat!
When I asked Hannah to tell me everything she knew about the moon on Day 1 of this unit, this is what she told me:
"The moon keeps light for us in the night. The stars are in the night just like the moon. The stars are gas balls. The moon is shaped like a crescent. The moon is bright like the stars. The moon is kind of big like the sun. It is night when the moon is out. Moon starts with 'm.' That's all."
And here's what she had to say on Day 6:
"The moon is made of rock and dust. The moon is very cold when it's night. It has a footprint on it. The moon is very close to us. Astronauts go to it. There is no rain on the moon. There are no stores or plants or any people or any houses or any bugs or any wind or any mosquitoes. There's nothing to eat on the moon. Especially you can't eat the moon. That would taste yucky. The moon spins around the earth, and the earth spins around the sun. It gives us light in the night. The moon reflects the light of the sun. Astronauts have to wear spacesuits because it's too cold and too hot on the moon, and they have to wear backpacks so they can breathe. Sometimes the moon is a circle when it's a whole moon, and sometimes it's a crescent, and sometimes there's no moon when it's a new moon, and sometime it's a half moon. That's all."
What a great study! I am thankful for everything Hannah is learning and amazed at how much I am learning, too!