Sunday, March 15, 2015

Montessori Inspired Space Theme

Over the past several weeks, we have been space crazy around here. Henry is in love with Star Wars so I thought we should use that desire to learn a little about the real solar system. 

montessori space preschool

It has been a huge success. Henry and the co-op kids all loved the work. 

The first tray was all about the moon landing. The tray features a Styrofoam ball painted like the moon, several flags and a couple of cards.


The cards feature pictures of the original moon landing and American flag. The goal here is to have the children look at the cards, study the astronauts, and plant the flag. Henry loved this work and probably repeated it more than anything else. I loved this work because it was a simple way to get him interested in fine motor work, an area where Henry could use some practice. 


The next tray was one examining the sun as a star. When I presented the work, I explained the sun was the closest star to the earth. To repeat the work, the children could use the sun punch to make a sun, then glue it to the black paper. Some of the co-op children are starting to write, so if they could, the kids could then copy the words "sun" and "star" from the example with chalk. 


This was used a lot by the children in co-op but not so much by Henry. He shys away from anything that might be considered "art."

Another tray during our space unit, was making constellations. To make we used mini-marshmallows and toothpicks. I provided an example of a constellation, but then told the children to just create their own.


This was another one of Hen's favorite works for the week. {And, I was pleasantly surprised how few marshmallows were eaten.} He mostly made lines but occasionally tried to copy by example. 


In the next tray we examined the solar system. This tray is going to become a permanent feature in our classroom, and deserves its own post. But it basically includes small wooden planets and a mat representing the solar system and labels. It was a big hit with Henry and the other co-op kids. I can't wait to share more about this with you (when I finish sewing it -- check Instagram for current updates!)



And, for the final "major" tray, we couldn't forget about Pluto. While Pluto isn't a planet anymore, I still wanted to include it because it appears in so many books about space. So, I created a simple tray with a small wooden planet (like those in the solar system map), cards and some letters. The tray allowed them to look at a real picture of Pluto and spell out the name or "Pluto the Dwarf Planet." I'm not sure why, but this was another huge hit. The kids were just drawn to Pluto, and I had to explain more than once why poor Pluto couldn't come to the Solar System map. 


Other things we did this unit included -- 

Star Counting 


"There's No Place Like Space!"


Pom-poms into ice cube tray -- this was mostly for the toddlers in our classroom. Henry still used it a bit.


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2 comments:

  1. I love those cat in the hat books. I read the one about mapping to my 8-yo and it still managed to spark an interest! I'm working on a solar system unit for my boys, so this couldn't come at a better time. Thanks for all the ideas!

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