Our science unit right now is Objects in the Sky. We use the Science Fusion program by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I included the link for visual reference. The book is an interactive work text that the student can write in and is functional on its own. However, if you want to get the most from this program, I recommend buying it from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt directly and getting set up with the online teacher component. With the online component you and your student will have access to online lessons, inquiries, and leveled readers. There are also printable vocabulary cards, additional inquiries, assessments, and so much more. We have really enjoyed using it this year.
Anyway, we’re studying the stars, moon, sun and general changes in the sky from day to night. The unit is short and doesn’t dive very deep into the astronomy aspect, which my son loves, so we are using some of the inquiry activities (there are lots of great inquiry activities for this unit, especially for first graders who are new to this topic) and adding a few of our own explorations.
My husband has been taking the kids out at night to look at the stars, and yesterday I printed up a constellation map. Today, my son is making his own constellation map by simply poking holes in a piece of black construction paper. He is trying to recreate Orion and adding a few of his own creations.
I also found a great workbook on Education.com called Skywatchers. It has lots of cool information about constellations, astronomers, the planets, the moon and more. I’m a subscriber so I can print up as many workbooks as I want – just today I printed three new workbooks to use for our studies. I really like this site and I use it a lot to get study materials for both my preschooler and my first grader.
Here are a few books about astronomy that we are planning on adding to our collection (click on each book for detailed information about each title):
What are some of your favorite astronomy-related activities?
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We’re studying environments and habitats in first grade science right now. We chose to use Science Fusion by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt this year. It’s a good program with a text they can write in, and it encourages using the pages to take notes and draw pictures to reinforce what they are learning. It also comes with online access to a digital platform that offers a ton of additional resources like leveled readers and virtual labs and lessons. Earlier in the year he was able to virtually test how a lizard would respond to terrariums with varying elements: sun vs. shade, grass vs. sand, etc. He really enjoys the digital aspect and the write-in text. Even though it’s packed full of resources, I still find myself looking for supplemental information. He’s a bit advanced so sometimes we need more than just the basics.
I’m a writer and I sometimes have articles published in AppleSeeds magazine. I realized that I had just gotten my contributors copy of a past issue that was all about deserts. It was fun to be able to incorporate some of my own work into his learning. Not to mention the other great articles in the magazine that discuss different aspects of desert life.
If you’ve never seen it, AppleSeeds magazine is a children’s nonfiction magazine focusing on social studies. They have a “You Are There!” emphasis on the writing to allow the kids to see things from their perspective. The magazine is targeted to kids aged 6-9 but my early reader started reading it at 5 and it will likely hold the attention of your 10 or 11 year old too.
Our next step will be to go out and explore to find different environments and habitats for people and animals. We like our local nature centers for this type of activity, but another good activity would be to visit an exotic pet store so they can see how different animals require different things in their habitats for them to survive. Reptiles need lots of light and sand and water to drink, fish need to be in water, birds need branches to perch on and seed and water, etc. We’ll bring along our notebooks and draw pictures of the different habitats we find and write about them when we get home.
Have you had any fun habitat exploration adventures or know of a good book on the topic to include in the lesson? Share it with us in a comment below.