Friday, April 29, 2011

Learning by Heart – I See the Moon

“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom”
– Henry Ward Beecher

{M is 4 1/2 years old}

      M is in love with the moon.

It all began with If You Decide To Go To The Moon , by Faith McNulty: image I heard about this book from Natalie over at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns, and thought M would like it.  Well, he did.  He couldn’t get enough of it and was instantly fascinated with outer space in general, and the moon in particular.  We have previously read books about outer space and the moon, but none of them sparked his interest as well as this one.

So we began a very simple little moon unit. 

We watched the launch of the space shuttle Discovery in February (yes, this is a pretty late post) live on the laptop:watching launch of DiscoveryIt was thrilling, to say the least.  He talked about it for days afterward.  I couldn’t quite get him to understand that they weren’t going to the moon, but oh well. :)  He loved learning about how everything is weightless in space and how the astronauts can float around inside of the space shuttle.  He wanted to get into the nitty-gritty details of how they live in it, especially how they go to the bathroom.  sigh.  It’s all part of learning, right? ;)

We played games with some beautiful space flashcards I picked up from Target over a year flashcard gameI was smart enough to get two sets at the time, although I wasn’t smart enough to think of a way to use them.  But once M’s interest in all things outer space was in high gear, I remembered this post of Ticia’s, where she created a game for her kids using these same flashcards.  Click on the link to her post to get the specific details.  This was fun and as soon as one of us had a card covered we flipped it over and read all of the interesting information on the back.  I think it would’ve gone a bit more quickly if we’d had more than just 2 players though, or if I had separated the flashcards into smaller groups.

We learned a bit about the phases of the moon too. 

We watched this video:

We looked at this page of the Starchild website a bit:imageThe website is part of NASA, and has tons of interesting things for children to learn about.  I highly recommend taking a look!  We only went over the moon phases web page, but I think we’ll be back to learn more!

I made some moon phases Montessori-style 3-part cards.  I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted online (for free anyway), so I used a public domain photo of the moon, and edited it to show the various phases:Moon Phases 3-part cards  
We had an art project waiting for us as M matched up these cards and labels, and I felt like he was hurrying through it to get to something more fun.  However, he has since talked about the “gibbous” moon on his own, so I guess some of it stuck! :)

You can download and print the Moon Phases 3-Part Cards here:image

M had fun making a little outerspace artwork.
  We used black paper, green and blue chalk dipped in water, aluminum foil, scissors, sequins, silver glitter glue, and two circle-shaped lids:supplies for moon artwork
I showed M how to hold a lid and draw around it at the same time in order to draw a circle.  He cut one circle from foil for the moon, and one was drawn onto the black paper with chalk.  He drew some areas of land on his “earth circle” and then colored it in with wet chalk (wet chalk on black paper is fun, and a good art project all on its own).
He drew a face on his moon, then sparkled up the the rest of outer space with some sequin and glitter glue stars:finished artwork 
On a trip to visit my parents, we were lucky enough to find this amazing book in a box my mom wanted me to look through:space shuttle bookI’m not sure if or where it can be found, but it is truly amazing. :)  It is filled with facts, and after reading it, you can unfold the pages:space shuttle book (6)Open it up:space shuttle book (1)And you have a 4-foot long space shuttle model!  M was in space shuttle heaven. :)  There’s a lot of great details, like a satellite in the cargo area:space shuttle book (4)And a pull-out section showing the control panels and the area the astronauts live in:space shuttle book (3)(sorry that picture didn’t turn out so well!)

There were several other moon-related books we read; here are M’s favorites…

The Moon, by Seymour Simon:image This is long, but packed with information.  M wanted to read this one several times a day for two weeks straight.

I Took the Moon for a Walk, by Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay:image

Moondance, by Frank Asch:image
Happy Birthday, Moon, by Frank Asch:
image  (M loves all the Moonbear books by Asch!)

The Berenstain Bears on the Moon, by Jan and Stan Berenstain:image
I’m linking this post up to Preschool Corner, and Weekly Wrap-Up, as well as Science Sunday!  Be sure to check them all out!
Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. What great learning!! I love the artwork! I had to giggle at the learning how they went to the bathroom.. sounds like something Sammy would want to know too!

  2. Great unit. M and Anna would have fun together, because she is still fascinated with all things space. She was very disappointed that we are not going to get any of the shuttles, but I am sure that we will make a trip to LA once one of the shuttles is placed in the museum there. We might try your space project too.

  3. The book does look great!! Thanks for sharing your great printable!!

  4. Great unit Nicole. Thanks for linking to Arty Crafty Party too :-)

  5. Wow! So many amazing activities and nice resources. Thank you for sharing. I want to be at your homeschool! :)

  6. Wow! What a great unit on the moon! I love that pop up book!

  7. This post is awesome. We're all over it today! Thank you!


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