The Very Beginnings of our Outer Space Unit Study (to be continued)

This one is going to take awhile to pull together because there are vast possibilities available for materials.  I’m a little daunted by not only the vastness of our universe, but by how to best present that vastness for Max so he has a framework to explore within.  Even though we won’t be technically starting this unit study for a while, I’ve already been mulling and researching, gradually gathering supplies and ideas.

Well, I found a terrific place to at least start.  I bought these with the intention of saving them for the unit study, but Max saw them and asked if we could read them.   You bet!  So, here we are reading them in the midst of the Whales and Dolphin unit study, but it’s all good.  Everything is connected, after all.  We are having a super time following George in his space adventures.  Along the way we are learning about space from non other than Stephen Hawking, the preeminent mind in theoretical physics.  This kind of book sums up what this blog is about – the best current available information wrapped up in an engaging children’s story.  These are the kinds of things I search for and I get very happy when I find them (and pass them along to you!)

Mr. Hawking wrote this with his daughter, Lucy.  It’s terrific!  I could not be more pleased.  We read 8-10 chapters a day and finished it asap.  It’s packed with information about the planets and their moons, comets, and black holes.  Lots of full-color pictures, too, to supplement the wow factor of space beyond our atmosphere.  The illustrations in the book are very good; I like the illustrator’s style very much.

The second book of which we’ve read the prologue.

Hope you weren’t expecting a big long list of resources about outer space – that will come, I promise.  I was so enamoured with these that they had to be posted early to get the outer space unit party started.  Check them out if you can!  They are full of jumping-off points for further study and exploration!

The Children’s Map of the Solar System has been on the wall for several months now and today I learned just how much detail Max has been paying attention to, just by walking down the hall near it day after day.  It’s colorful, humorous and accurate – some of the best things in life!  This will be a big part of the unit study since visuals offer so much more than just the written word.  It’s big (54″ x 37″), so plan accordingly!  You can see better graphics if you click on the maps below or on the blue link above.

Learning about the International Space Station‘s (ISS) current adventures in real-time is a good pass-time, too.  You can check out what the astronauts are doing, how they live, eat and sleep on the ISS, and where they are located in relation to Earth at any given moment.  Construction on the ISS began in 1998; it’s fun to see how it’s being used to study both outer space and humans IN outer space.  Check out the ISS at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

All of Basher’s books are engaging and packed with information.  Many elements from space are personified into cute characters who aim to teach.  All done up in a Japanese cartoon style.  Simon Basher and Dan Green have written several books in this series, each one delving into a different topic (so they are not all space-related).

Quote taken from the back of the book:  “Karen Taschek introduces young readers to the wonders revealed by the VLA.  She begins with basic information on our solar system and our own Milky Way galaxy and then extends the discussion to galaxies billions of light-years from Earth”.  Ever since the movie Contact, I’ve been enamoured with these big dishes and would like to see them in person.

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