Sunday, July 3, 2011

Extra"ordinary" Science

Every year I try to incorporate a new project to add to my arsenal of teaching ideas.  Usually, it is in an area that I feel I need to work on and for the past couple of years that has been Social Studies.  However, this year, I decided my Science Class needed something cool that the students could look forward to besides the typical labs from our textbook.  Hence my idea for Space Mission began to take root.

In our science book, we study a bit of astronomy and that includes the planets and their features and characteristics.  After completing the unit in our book, students were then introduced to their Space Mission with a PowerPoint I created.  The mission was to recreate the Solar System of planets out on the playground using colored chalk.  Groups were formed and mission badges were created which would be worn the day of our "mission".   Each group was assigned two planets - I tried to arrange it so each group had a large and small planet.  They began to research their planets and draw an outline of what their planet looked like using the Planet Information Sheet. In addition, the students had to come up with a scale so their planets were the correct size in relation to each other.  This was probably the most difficult part since the planets vary in size so greatly but after they came up with something that was agreeable to everyone, they cut string in the size of the radius of each planet to assist with the actual mission.  We did not worry about distance though - otherwise it would not have fit on our playground. :-)

After a week of research the class embarked upon their journey.  I had ordered a bucket of colored chalk from Discount School Supply for only $2.99 per bucket (Chalk).  The day of the mission, students proudly wore their mission badges and took their radius string and packets outside and showed their artistic side while recreating the solar system.  They definitely enjoyed wrapping up the unit with this fun (and messy) project. 

As always, I reflect back on the project and wonder......what changes can I make to enhance it for the future?  Any ideas - let me know. 

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