LittleMan and I were at the shop recently and looking at his options for the upcoming homeschool Valentine exchange when it dawned upon us that it had all been done before. Ninja turtles, Star Wars, all of it. And while he loves his fandoms, LittleMan really wanted something to reflect his love of science. So I offered to help him make some that showcased his interests.
And so, with LittleMan’s help, today is day seven of a 14 day series of Free Printable Valentines for Science Geeks. Today’s Valentine is all about the moon!
When we think of the galaxy, the vastness that is space, one of the first things we think of is stars. If you’re lucky enough to live in the country, you probably can get a decent view of the stars every night before bed. Those of us who are inhibited by city air pollution are considerably less fortunate in terms of star gazing.
There are however several ways we can study the night sky, without actually seeing it. One way is to go to a planetarium, which we do with one of our homeschool groups every month. Another way is to make constellation luminaries.
I got the bright idea to make a solar system with the kids. Me being the perfectionist that I am, my first instinct was to do a papermache solar system to scale. Any of you who know anything about space know how laughable this idea would be to try an accomplish with a kindergartner. Those of you who don’t get the joke, hop on over to Think Zone and plug some numbers into their solar system model calculator:
If you want Earth to be 1 inch in diameter then you’re looking at placing Neptune at least 8 km from the sun. If you want Neptune 2 feet from the sun then Earth would be 0.0001725 cm! Crazy.
So I gave up on any thoughts of accuracy and just decided to keep it fun and easy.
We started out with 1 sheet of construction paper per planet, some scissors (to cut the construction paper into a square shape), crayons, solar system flash cards, and an origami book with instructions to make a paper ball (these instructions could also be found via youtube).
LittleMan is no stranger to the concept of measurements. He’s been working with the differences in cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons since he was 2 years old. He’s been talked to about measurements of time (minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, etc..) since he was 3 years old. Today was his first introduction into measurements of length or distance.
In order to make the concept of measuring more appealing, we started off using two things which LittleMan is very fond of: candy and space.