Solar System ~ Stars Nebulas & Supernovas

During our Apologia Astronomy studies this past year and these first months we have been amazed at the incredible synchronicity of astronomy news and discoveries!

This week, while we studied stars, nebula and supernovas, BBC News reported the discovery of

Doomed twin stars found at nebula’s heart

Planetary nebula Henize 2-428

The odd shape of the nebula can be explained by the “double-degenerate” pair of stars at its core (Image: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31310355)

I also used this opportunity to teach my 12-year-old to create her own minibooks for her Solar System Lapbook.  Using MSWord, Miss.L12 opened my Minibook Master Template, copied a template, inserted and pasted images & text boxes, grouped shapes, cropped, saved and printed these minibooks ~

 

Stars nebulas supernova minibooks

As it is summer here in South Africa, we went out to star gaze one night.

Homeschool 20152Using our large telescope, we all took turns to view Jupiter and the rising moon.  We managed to identify several constellations, especially Orion and its major stars Rigel and Betelgeuse.  We also used our famous Southern Cross and The Pointers stars to draw imaginary lines to find due south. Our Southern Star Wheel was also very handy, as were the reference books I borrowed from our local library.

(Tip: New homeschool moms, ask your local library to register you as a teacher.  They then usually allow you to take out more books on block loans for longer periods than those permitted by conventional members.  Registered with the library, homeschooled children may also take out extra books for the normal loan period.)

Here are your free downloads ~

References ~

Enjoy your stars and astronomy studies!

Blessings,

Solar System Comics ~ Pluto

We are continuing with our Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy this year.  Although I had planned to cover the entire book last year,  I am quite happy to stretch out our Astronomy studies for a few more months.  It has been such a fabulous journey and I have lots planned for our constellation chapter.

Here are our comic pages on Pluto.  As the chapter discussed Pluto’s status as no longer being a planet in a debate format, our comics were fairly easy to set out~

Solar System Pluto 001 Solar System Pluto 002

And if you missed our earlier Solar System Comics, here they are ~

Here is a free blank comic strip page download ~ Solar System Comic notebooking pages.

Hope you and your children enjoy our comics as much as our own family members did!

Blessings,

 

Solar System Comics ~ Uranus & Neptune

We’ve enjoyed creating comics for the planets we have studied in our Apologia Astronomy studies.

It takes a fair bit of thinking and planning, and quite a lot of quiet time to draw and write the dialogue for the comic strip.  We both found that it helps if you have an amusing character or story line to get into the creative flow.  I tend to try fit in too many facts and find that I get bogged down, while Miss.L12 has a blast adding sound effects and drawing humorous situations!  In fact, one can get away with totally absurd ideas!

This past week we studied Uranus and Neptune. Both planets’ comic strips are on one page.  (Miss.L12 will hopefully complete her comic soon and I will add it here.)

Solar System Uranus & Neptune 001

And if you missed our earlier Solar System Comics, here they are ~

Here is a free blank comic strip page download ~ Solar System Comic notebooking pages.

Blessings

 

Solar System Comics ~ Jupiter & Saturn

During our Apologia Astronomy studies this year we have been amazed at the incredible “real outer worldly” astronomy happenings!

This week the Philae landed on a comet called 67P!  We have followed its progress the past few months and I was surprised how excited we both became when it actually landed 2 days ago!  What an outstanding epic journey so far!

Mission facts from BBC News

Philae lander

  • Travelled 6.4 billion km (four billion miles) to reach the comet
  • Journey took 10 years
  • Planning for the journey began 25 years ago

Comet 67P

  • More than four billion years old
  • Mass of 10 billion tonnes
  • Hurtling through space at 18km/s (40,000 mph)
  • Shaped like a rubber duck

We continued our own Solar System studies and here are our Jupiter & Saturn comic strips ~

Solar System Jupiter 001 Solar System Jupiter 002

Solar System Saturn 001 Solar System Saturn 002

And if you missed our earlier Solar System Comics, here they are ~

Here is a free blank comic strip page download ~ Solar System Comic notebooking pages.

These comic strips are actually such fun that one doesn’t realize that they are chock full of interesting facts and information!  Print them out for your kids to color in and read and enjoy!

Blessings,

 

Solar System Comics ~ Earth & Mars

The past weeks we studied earth and Mars.  In a wonderful “convergence” our Mars studies coincided with India’s Mangalyaan (also known as MOM Mars Orbiter Mission) and America’s Maven’s arrival in Mars orbit.  We have been following these space missions on BBC News.  Just today India and USA have signed an agreement on future co-operations at Mars. This kind of current affairs has made our Astronomy studies come alive!

As in our previous planet studies, Mercury & Venus, we each created a comic strip.  Here are our Earth and Mars comic strips~

Earth Solar System Comics 003 Earth Solar System Comics 004 Mars Solar System Comics 001 Mars Solar System Comics 002

Here is a free blank comic strip page download ~ Solar System Comic notebooking pages

Blessings,

 

Solar System Comics ~ Venus

In my last post ! shared our Mercury comics and this week, after we read about Venus in our Exploring Creation with Astronomy book, we made comic strips on some of the facts on Venus.

(Actually, this comic strip lesson was our first attempt and we went back to make our Mercury comics.  Somehow, there seems to be more detail and artistry in our Mercury comics?  I am planning and hoping that we will create a comic strip for each planet and chapter in our Astronomy studies.)

Creating comic strips is a wonderful visual method of narration.  A picture can tell a thousand words!  Comics capture loads of information!

Here are our comics on Venus ~

1-Solar System Comics 007

(Miss.L12 allowed me to write over her pencil dialogue and pictures in black pen so that they would scan better)

5-Solar System Comics 006

Here is a free blank comic strip page download ~ Solar System Comic notebooking pages

Read here for comic book tips.

Blessings,

Solar System Comics ~ Mercury

Our Exploring Creation with Astronomy book suggested that we make a comic strip following reading our chapter.  What a novel notebooking idea!

My youngest daughter is very visual, so she immediately conceptualized images for her comic strip and drew incredibly detailed illustrations.

I love comics because you can pack a lot of information in a small space, and comics compel children to read!  (Moms and Dads, let your children read comics!)

Then my 14-year-old read our comics and decided to join in the fun.  She had us in stitches with her humorous comic strip!

The girls and I shared our comics with Dad and older brother .  They thoroughly enjoyed them, and more exciting, they could tell us quite a lot of information based on what they had just read!

Here are our comics on Mercury~

2-Solar System Comics 003

(P.S. I simply wrote over her pencil writing … just so it was clearer)

3-Solar System Comics 004

(I absolutely love Miss.K14’s sense of humor and her artistic details!)

4-Solar System Comics 005

Here is a free blank comic strip page download ~ Solar System Comic notebooking pages

Encourage your children to draw comics for their narrations.

Here are some tips:

  1. Plan out 8 facts/ ideas on rough paper first. Just think … eight blocks = eight facts?
  2. Look at some real comics with your children before your start to show how a reader reads the dialogue from left to right, from top to bottom if there is more than one “call out” or speech bubble in a block.
  3. First write out the dialogue small & neatly, then draw the speech bubble around the words.  This prevents you running out of space in your bubble.
  4. Use different shaped “call out” bubbles – bubbled for thoughts, pointed to a mouth as speech, zig-zag to show radio comments or computer voice.
  5. Add a top or bottom information phrase block if needed, like: Later on … or Back inside …
  6. Use the space left after the speech to draw simple ideas.
  7. Use onomatopoeic (sound effect) words and draw them with style to show something popping, crashing, exploding, squeaking etc.
  8. Be creative!  Have FUN!

Blessings,

 

Solar System Mobile

Another mobile?” you may ask.

Solar system mobile

Solar System Mobile

Well, months ago, while browsing a large crafts store in a big city, I purchased some polystyrene balls especially packaged for a solar system mobile, and packed them away until we started our Exploring Creation with Astronomy by Jeannie K. Fulbright.  Then, we launched (yes, pun intended!) into our theme by creating the solar system mobile.

My daughter figured out how to support each ball to paint and let them dry without smudging them.  She used a small piece of wire stuck inside candle stick holders and pierced the wire into each ball.  We used acrylic paints and sponges.  Middle sister joined in because it looked such fun!  We referred to printouts of the planets to correctly select the appropriate-sized balls and paint them the right colors.

Solar system mobile1

We needed a large, large sun that would not be too heavy.  We compromised on the sun’s size and covered our inflatable earth globe with paper mache.  (A beach ball would also do, but the world globe has a stand which allowed us to turn and cover the ball with paper and glue.) I used a small amount of wallpaper glue mixed with water in the correct ratio … (I sneaked in a little maths lesson!)  Wallpaper glue lasts for several days in a sealed container, and spills and drips wash off easily.

The next day we recovered our sun’s newspaper layers with white paper strips and let it dry. Then, when dried, we deflated the globe enough to insert the scissors and snip a large slit and pull the flattened globe out our ball.  A few layers of  new paper mache to close our slit, and another day to allow to dry completely.  Somehow, the newly glued section softened previous layers and our beautiful ball became a bit wonky.  But my daughter was completely unfazed because, “the sun is a burning ball of gas and it’s not perfectly round, is it, mom?” Absolutely!

I bent a large piece of used fence wire and we used fish gut to suspend all the globes. There were a few problem-solving moments because our wire ring did not hang level.  We decided to add some blue, yellow and white glass beads to balance the mobile.  What an ingenious idea, because these beads looked like stars!  We could have hung planet moons too, I suppose, which would also be a great idea …

A great hands-on activity!  It was really educational too, because by the end of this activity, my daughter knew all the planets’ names, their relative sizes and colors, and could easily identify them in our studies.  Wonderful introduction to Astronomy!

Here are some of the Solar System websites I pinned or filed in OneNote ~

Have fun making your solar system model!

Blessings,