Astronomy: Unit One – The Solar System

For our study into the solar system, we used the Apologia Text Book and accompanying Notebook.  I also have access to Everyday Astronomy from School House Teachers, as well as lots of bits and pieces I used with my older ones that I have collected over the years.

Solar System

Goals for Studying the Solar System

  • Learn about astronomy in general
  • Learn about the solar system as a whole
  • Name all the planets in the right order
  • Recognise each planet
  • And to whet the girls appetite for more fun learning

The first chapter of Apologia’s astronomy text book is really just a quick overview, so having read the chapter to the girls, my main focus was to get them excited about the next 13 chapters!  This is very important when you are schooling a little six year old who makes her mind up very quickly whether she will enjoy something or not 😉 

Of course, this means lots of hands on activities, (because who doesn’t like lots of hands on activities). This means she was learning without really realising.

Activities to Learn about the Solar System

These are the activities we did, in the order they were done:

Making Junk Space Ships

We made some spaceships from a kit I bought from The Works.  This was just for fun:                               

Solar System Puzzle

The girls made up our giant floor Solar System Puzzle:

Constellations Craft

We made a fun constellations craft from a Horrible Science Kit:                                                                                      

Solar System Model

Using the same kit we made a model of Jupiter:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

We added that model to some polymer clay models of the rest of the planets, which Lillie made for her little sisters, and created a solar system from yarn, black paper, a painted yellow paper plate and the aforementioned models:                                                                                                                                             After which I tested the girls memory of what all the planets were called:                                                       

The next model we made was from some stickers of all the different planets.  Using the same black paper and chalk to show each planets path around the moon (very, very roughly 🙂  ), the girls created a glow-in-the-dark semi-permanent model they could keep in their room:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

The final model was the assignment from the Apologia Textbook, and was a very effective way of showing the various sizes of the planets in comparison to each other:                                                              We then went over the mnemonic My Very Early Morning Just Started Under Nancy’s Pancakes (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto – not a planet but the mnemonic is a bit iffy without it 🙂  )                                                                                                                               The final thing we did which was such a huge hit was use a machine we had been gifted by Nik.  With this we looked at some images/photos projected onto the ceiling in their darkened room, such as Jupiter and Saturn:                                                                                                                                                        
And the earth and its moon:
And various nebulas:These were all in colour but my camera seems to only take black and white when I use the night-light setting.  There were lots and lots of pictures which the girls thoroughly enjoyed seeing.  We went through them a few times before we moved onto the constellation setting to look at the stars at night:                                                                                                                           We had a great time looking at the solar system.  Next week we will be learning all about the sun 🙂


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