Monday, November 18, 2013

Pre-K Week 5: Space!

Space week was one of my favorite weeks this year!  The summer before last, I attended a Pre-Service Teacher Institute through NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. This week-long workshop gave me a renewed interest in space, and I really was able to be comfortable in sharing the information and getting students excited.

This unit tied in nicely with Mr. X in our letter people curriculum, as he was a letter person who loved space and planets.

Some of the activities we did included:

Telescope out of a Paper Towel Tube: from the Letter People Curriculum:
For this activity, the students learned about using a telescope to see things in the night sky, such as the moon, stars, and planets.  They then made their own telescopes by attaching a piece of black construction paper to the end of a toilet paper tube with a rubber band. We poked holes in the paper to make it look like stars. I also had the students decorate their tubes with pictures of the sky and the letter X.  This was a very simple project that everyone was able to do with minimal help, and the kids loved using the telescopes on the playground.


And I love this picture :)

Another project that we did was make finger rockets. I learned how to do this in my NASA workshop. To read more about the activities I learned there, read my PSTI blog.  To find directions on this rocket and other rocket activities, check out NASA's rocket packet.

This rocket is extremely easy and quick to make, but it requires some skills that little hands can't necessarily do independently. You use plumbing foam (the same stuff I use to make wreaths!) found at the hardware store for less than a dollar.
Cut the foam into 12" pieces. Make 4 equal slits on one end. Add fins (template on NASA guide) and a small piece of duct tape to connect the slits. On the other end of the foam, secure a thick rubber band with two pieces of overlapping duct tape. Again, read the guide (it's super easy) and don't rely on my quick instructions.
The rockets work SO well... on my example to the kids I shot it in the air so it wouldn't get lost over the fence of the playground. It went so high it landed on the roof :/
Luckily, only one of my students figured out how to actually shoot the rocket in the intended way, and even he could only get it a few feet so there weren't any problems. The rest of the kids had a great time trying to make them fly, just throwing them, and counting backwards from 10 to make them BLAST OFF!!!

Another little art project we did this week was making Space Man Helmets from empty milk containers. This activity was from the Letter people curriculum, and it fit in nicely with talking about astronauts.  I cut the containers and added tape so the edges wouldn't cut the students. The students decorated the helmets with paint, but when the paint dried it just flaked off :( 
They also used some stickers. It was an easy make-believe project if nothing else.

Some of the more simple paper activities included making a night sky using die-cuts: 

And drawing a picture of the night sky compared to the day sky:

And finally, here's our space bulletin board! I just cut a simple rocket with fire out of butcher paper. I then made the sign 'Our Work is Out of this World!'  I think it looked awesome and I kept it up as long as I could!

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