Astronomy
STEM, Themed Units

Astronomy & Physics: A Week Long Themed Unit for Young Minds

What better way to introduce early physics to your young ones than through Astronomy?  I mean after all, what child doesn’t possess an instilled fascination with those shiny wonders upon which Jiminy Cricket lulls us to wish upon?  This is perhaps the lowest maintenance yet most learning and fun me and my littles have fit into an entire Themed Unit!  

This is a Themed Unit the kids and I explored ourselves three summers ago, as part of our summer unschooling fun! At the time their ages ranged from 7, 4, and 2, and each of them took their own enjoyment in it.  I have revisited it, and organized it so that it can be used for extracurricular fun, or an actual themed unit of lesson plans.  This is simply a foundational suggestion, feel free to customize, build, and edit to your hearts content.

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Required Supplies

For the entire week the only unique supplies required are the following: 

 

There’s No Place Like Space! 

 

This is the book we use to reference each morning in our daily warm ups.  It is playful while being incredibly informative all in one, in only the way The Cat in The Hat books can.  Although it is available to be read online, the kids really enjoyed having a physical copy to thumb through and even use as reference, especially on the last day of study.  

 

Star Stickers

 

Star Stickers are a must for day one of our study.  Really ANY star stickers will do.  These that I’ve linked to are glow in the dark, so that may be a fun way addition to the project.  Although for my kiddos, we simply utilized tiny metallic star stickers, and they worked just fine all the same. 😉

 

 

Solar System Kit

This Solar System Planetarium Kit is for our summative assessment on the last day of the unit.  Although you are free to use any kit, or make one from scratch, the affordable price and all in one aspect makes this a learning solution to spare the time and stress of the educator.  

 

Other wise most of the supplies you should already have handy around your activity space.  Construction Paper, scissors, glues, crayons, and brads.

 

Day 1: The Stars

Physics Vocabulary:

Zenith:  the point in the sky or celestial sphere directly above an observer.

Horizon:  the line at which the earth’s surface and the sky appear to meet

Objectives:

  • Identify and Understand Constellations
  • Build curiosity and observational skills
  • Identify Property of an object

The Lesson:

This simple introduction will gently build your young astronomers confidence with a simple dot-to-dot fashion activity of their favorite constellation.  The lesson can be found here

  • Sci Show YouTube Video
  • Constellation Observations
  • Simple Craft

Day One: The Stars

 

Day 2: The Sun

 

Physics Vocabulary:

Energy: The capacity of doing work; how thing change or form.

Heat Energy: Energy that transfers through warmer temperatures.

Objectives:

  • What Causes Seasons on Earth?
  • Sun Safety
  • Heating, Cooling, and Changes of State.

The Lesson:

The sun’s energy is so strong that it can reach Earth!  Its energy holds many benefits:  it helps plants grow, gives us warmth, and provides us with light just to name a few.  With all this good, there are steps we should take to protect ourselves while the Sun does its job, such as wearing sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.  The lesson can be found here.

  • Sing along
  • Science Experiment
  • Observational Discussion

Day Two: The Sun

 

Day 3: The Planets

Physics Vocabulary:

Solid: Keep their own shape and to stay where they are put.

Gas:  Air-like substances that can move around freely or they might flow to fit a container.

Objectives:

  • Compare Properties of an Object
  • Identify Properties of an Object
  • Identify the Planets and Their Names

The Lesson:

The primary focus of this lesson is to introduce the planets, while exploring a bit into the concept of matter.  Some planets are solid, while some are gaseous.  They are all unique in color, shape, and size.  

  • Sing Along 
  • Free, no prep printable provided.

Day 3: The Planets

 

Day 4: The Moon

Physics Vocabulary:

Gravity:  Invisible force that pulls an object towards each other.

Orbit: Egg-shaped path followed by objects as a result of gravitational pull.

Objectives:

  • Identify Directions of Forces
  • Identify Phases of the Moon
  • Analyze Models of Earth-Sun-Moon System

The Lesson: 

Introducing the difference between push and pull, explain that gravity pulls the moon from flying away, and instead allows it to circle Earth in an elliptical (egg-shaped) motion.  How does this effect the day an night, how does this effect the shape of the moon?  This lesson can be found here.  

Day 4: The Moon

 

 

Day 5 Solar System

Physics Vocabulary:

Jovian:  Planets made of Gas. 

Terrestrial: Planets made of Rock.

Objectives:

  • Identify Directions of Forces
  • Compare Properties of an Object
  • Analyze and Compare Properties of Planets

The Lesson:

As a final summative assessment the students will watch a brief video on the planets of the solar system.  Just like the moon is connected to the Earth by gravity, we are too to the Sun with the other planets of our solar system.  We all follow our separate orbital pathways.   Making observations, and building on the understanding we have built throughout the week the student will use pictures, videos, and texts to compare the different planets and recreate their own personal model to express their hands-on understanding of the week.  You can find this lesson here.

 

Day 5: The Solar System

 

Astronomy Inspiration from Infinity and Beyond!

 

2 thoughts on “Astronomy & Physics: A Week Long Themed Unit for Young Minds”

  1. As a child, I used to sit out on the porch at night with my mother. We’d look at the stars, she’d hope to see a UFO, but it was fun, and a wonderful memory. It’s August, the Perseid meteor showers are coming up soon.

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