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Space Unit: Space Research Project

A cornerstone of our classroom curriculum in our research projects   These science of reading-aligned research projects are created to make research and writing accessible and fun for our early childhood students.  Let’s face it, research can be a daunting task for our kids because so many of them are just learning to read!   So, our research projects are designed to be done with read-alouds and videos and anchor charts/graphic organizers to give students support for their writing.  Did I mention they’re fun?!   And they are great for informational text, vocabulary, building background knowledge, and higher-order thinking!   So today I’m sharing our space research project and showing you ways to bring a fun, hands-on space unit into your classroom!

Everything you need to conduct a space research project/space unit is included in our Mission Space creation!

As with every research project, we start with a schema map!

A schema map is very similar to a KWL chart.  Schema is what we already know or think we know.  We do our schema map before we do anything else so we get a true set of schema.  This also activates our background knowledge and gets us excited about our research!   As we go through the research project or space unit, we add new learning.  Finally, we go back to our schema and address our misconceptions.  Misconceptions might be wrong or partially right.  Misconceptions are an opportunity to correct or adjust our thinking!

space schema map

space unit

science of reading lessons

We start our space unit by learning about day and night.

First, we learn about the sun and Earth and how day and night happen.  We talk about things we do during the day and night and make a class chart.

After we make our chart, we make a picture of what we see in the day and night sky!

day and night sky

Another way to do this day-and-night art project is with cookie cutters.  We use moon and stars cookie cutters from Amazon!

Star, moon, sun and clouds cookie cutters

Astronaut Application

After we learn about day and night, we learn about astronauts.  You see, as awesome as we are because you have to be awesome to be in our class, you can’t explore the solar system if you aren’t an astronaut!

We read a book about astronauts and make a graphic organizer about being an astronaut.

astronaut tree map

After we learn about astronauts, we label an astronaut while learning vocabulary!

astronaut labeling

astronaut labeling

Finally, we must fill out our astronaut application to see if we qualify to explore the solar system and become astronauts!  (Spoiler alert:  We all qualify!)

Exploring The Solar System

Now that we’re all astronauts, we explore the solar system one planet at a time. Each day, we “fly” to the planet!  We read about the planet and complete our graphic organizer.  Students then use that information to fill out their planet fact sheet.  They also draw a picture of the planet.  For this part, I use a NASA photograph of each planet so the students see what the planet looks like!

  

Of course, our space unit isn’t all about research and writing!  We have to have a little fun!

Galaxy Slime

We make galaxy slime using contact solution, glue, baking soda, and baby oil!

Here is the kid-friendly and safe slime recipe:

1 bottle of glue

Add contact solution until the glue doesn’t stick to the bowl.  Next, add a few drops of food coloring.

Then, add 1 tablespoon of baking soda.  (Add additional baking soda as needed to thicken the slime!)  Mix until the slime is thickened up!

Add 2-3 drops of baby oil to make the slime not sticky!

galaxy slime

Space Snacks

For our space snack, we eat the moon, stars, and rings of Saturn!

Moon pie=moon

Star Crunch=stars

Powdered donuts=rings of Saturn

Galaxy snack!  Popcorn, brownies, M&ms!

space snacks

Space Art Projects

After we visit all of the planets, we make a picture of our solar system!  We discuss each planet (and the sun) and the students make their own planets and glue them on.  As we are working on this project, we’re having conversations about the planets and space!  A great informal assessment!

solar system art project

For this earth painting, kids squirt some paint on paper and use their hands to smear the paint!  Then they cut out the circle.  You could do these for all of the planets by changing the color of the paint!

Kindergarteners In Space

We also make sure to take some pictures of ourselves as we explore the solar system!

We use green screen technology to make these awesome pictures!   My kids were amazed by this technology!

green screen space pictures

To see how we made these awesome pictures check out this post on green screen technology!

And since we’re exploring the solar system we need a rocket ship!  I found this awesome rocket ship tent on Amazon and it was a huge success!   The rule is only 2 people may be in the rocket and the door stays open!

space unit

We also need to set the scene so we use these fun inflatables from Amazon!  (Click the image to visit Amazon!)

And of course, you must dress the part!  (Click the image to visit Amazon)

These are the books we used for our research project/space unit:

 

We also did our space research journals while traveling through space!  I pulled up a YouTube video of the solar system and we worked while we traveled in space!

Space Centers

And of course, no research project or space theme is complete without space centers!

space centers 

Check out these space resources to bring the solar system alive in your space unit!


 

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