Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Astronomy !

Here we go.  It took some time to get this going.  I did some research on telescopes and realized that I really didn't want to spend over $100 on a beginner scope, but didn't want to waste my money on inexpensive toy store ones either.  This is an introduction for us and we hope that it will spark some stargazing enthusiasts and upgrade in another year or so.  This site has some great advice on beginner scopes and was very helpful in trying to pick something.  Another great book introducing me to stargazing is The Backyard Astronomer by Alan Norse.  I've never owned a scope or star gazed and really had no idea how to begin.  I started reading this and have found it very helpful in giving me some tips to pass on to the kids.  We decided to go with the Celestron 21024 First Scope and accessory kit (it includes additional lenses, very useful).  Dad has also agreed to let us use his heavy duty binoculars, it's recommended you start with no scope and gradually get familiar with the night sky.  Our first time using the Celestron was about a week ago and the kids were pretty impressed.  I still have a lot of playing around to do with it.

A week ago one of the moms at our big homeschool group's park day brought over her used curriculum for sale.  I was very intrigued by R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey, particularly the Earth & Astronomy packet.  I decided to give it a try and we are using just the Astronomy units this summer.  I made two  booklets for each set of older sister and younger brother; to work together as teams.  I like this because it makes my first grade and kindergarten boys feel like they are participating with their older sisters' big kid work.  Back to why it intrigued me.  We love reading and just naturally creating as we go along, but I also know that my kids were wanting some more structured type labs/experiments, if you will.  I thought this would be a nice short and prepared way of having some notebooking style pages and activities to do as we read our way through some picture books and both H. A. Rey The Stars & Find the Constellations as well as my sons favorite: A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky.

We just started reading about the moon and look forward to gazing and tracking the different moon phases soon. Kris at At Home Science has a yahoo group and just linked to this great planet size comparison site that my kids enjoyed so much.  I'm sure will follow the R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey plans this summer (it's saved me time putting things together) and use what we like; the kids can't wait to get to the Make A Solar Oven lab soon.  I'm also hoping that the night sky gazing will become an ongoing appreciation and observation through out the year.


Silvia said...

Thanks for sharing your research! I have the A.Rey book and some others ready for when we are! Good luck with your star gazing!

Grace'n'Chaos said...

Thanks Silvia, I'm amazed at how much I learn alongside my kids :)