Watching the Curiosity land on Mars was so exciting! The kids were jumping up and down and screaming- I'm still not sure they knew what was going on- but they were still very enthusiastic!
I pulled out some solar system cards I had made up from a couple years ago to get them started. Bear was VERY excited I had some and kept asking for more to do. After looking online a bit, we were inspired to make up our own 3-D solar system and mat.
We started with a kit from the store- it was cheaper than buying the Styrofoam balls separately. I like these ones because they do have the sun. Many we found don't! Go figure.
Next we painted the balls according to the colors on our solar system cards. Saturn was the exception. Bear really wanted it to be blue. I gave him a little artistic freedom since we had good examples of what it should look like.
After realizing that the Styrofoam likes to fall apart, we (I) painted the balls with modge podge to give it a finished layer. It actually looks quite nice.
The coolest part of the system though I think is the mat. We were inspired by this post over at Montessori Print Shop. Instead of using puff paint I stitched white thread onto black felt. I used about 1/3 yard of black felt (I had to cut it and stitch it to make a square). I would probably recommend just buying more felt to avoid that issue- 1/2 to 1 yard would be ideal depending on how big you want it. The post above has VERY detailed instructions. Our circles didn't turn out quite right- but it's ok!
Here are some activities I watched Bear work on:
Size Sorting the planets
Organizing by location in the Solar System
Counting Number of times around the Sun (Revolution)
Rate of Mercury going around the sun vs. Jupiter
Spinning the Earth (Rotation)
We stored all the planets, the mat, and the cards in a shoe-box size plastic container and placed it with our Continent Boxes.
Linking up this week: