Winter Nature Study – a focus on astronomy
Winter Nature Study – a focus on astronomy
Our first week of nature study (Winter Nature Study – a lesson on trees) went very well, and it actually spilled over into two weeks because we were so intrigued. The snow that we’ve had lately has increased our nature walk appeal because we don’t usually have this much snow, ice, or cold and certainly not for this long. But, as all good things must end, it’s time to move on to our next topic. We are now doing a week of astronomy winter nature study.
I will be using the same resources from my first post in this series Winter Nature Study – A lesson on Trees. I am really pleased with our nature study guides from Katie’s Homeschool Cottage and would recommend them to anyone looking for a place to start studying nature. They have a good list of resources and activities to choose from to fit any family dynamic.
After going through the resources and activities listed, I’ve parred it down to what will interest Izzy.
The poem we are reading for our astronomy winter nature study is from our nature study guide. Izzy selected Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. After our initial reading of the poem, Izzy was surprised by all the stanza’s he hadn’t heard before. We have a book at home that is an adaptation to Twinkle, Twinkle so he is familiar with a very different version. It is now one of Mickey Blue’s favourite books too! Add it to the list of books I love – it’s Twinkle,Twinkle,Little Star-Board Book by Iza Trapani. We’ve actually owned this book since T, my oldest, was only a toddler. We passed along most of the possessions our boys outgrew or grew tired of, but this is one treasure we have held on to.
We started the week off reading the poem; first myself, then Izzy to me, on Monday. Then, by his choice, we have alternated copy work with dictation (which has happened to work out well with my littles). We go over one stanza per day making sure he knows each of the words, spells them correctly, and discuss any grammar that is relevant.
As a side note, we’ve also been keeping his handiwork because we will be including it with letters we are sending to different family members each month. I think letter writing is truly a lost art, and I am determined to revive it in my children. They are actually very enthusiastic about it. And who doesn’t love getting a letter in the mail!
Unfortunately, for us, we are faint of heart. At least this week. We are all recovering from a tummy bug so we haven’t ventured out of our house very much. But given that our astronomy winter nature study requires quite a bit of darkness, this actually works out.
It should also give Mickey Blue time to forget our last nature walk. In the search for stumps we went trampling through the brush into the woods, off the beaten path. Poor Mickey had a branch fly back and smack him in the face. A small piece of the branch actually broke off and was sticking out of the corner of his eye (yikes!). After a moment of sheer mommy panic, I was relieved to discover it was sitting right on top of the tear duct and hadn’t gone in any further. After about 5 minutes of duress he was ready to traverse again. He is amazing little trooper this guy!
Our goal this week is to look up at the night sky and learn to identify some of the constellations. Many of them are familiar to Izzy already because we live out in the country where it is very easy to see the stars. We don’t even have any street lights on our street and the city glow is pretty far off and at a lower elevation from us.
We’re going to be looking for the North Star, the Little Dipper, and the Big Dipper. We’re also going to see if we can locate part of the Milky Way (something I’ve never done before!). We have done some work on Moon Phases in the past. So, we will review them and then keep track of them for the week. If you’re new to moon phases, I highly recommend Gail Gibbon’s The Moon Book . (I LOVE all her books!)
I have an iPhone and I downloaded the app SkyView (the free version). This will help us locate the stars in the night sky and identify planets, if we can see them. (A great use of technology to add to our astronomy winter nature study!) An app called Star Chart is recommended for those who have an android phone. It has great reviews – though I haven’t tried it myself.
For more information for my sharing purposes, I will be using Exploring Creation: With Astronomy to get my knowledge up to snuff. We also have National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Space which has some fabulous real life pictures from space and a good starting amount of information on the stars and constellations (including the big and little dipper and the North star – convenient!).
This weeks activities will also be based around the constellations. I will draw them out on black paper in chalk for the kids to see. They then get to recreate the constellations with mini-marshmallows and toothpicks.
And finally, to round out our astronomy winter nature study, we have an art project for the week. We are going to once again venture over to Deep Space Sparkle. This week we will be using the Starry Night Mixed-Media lesson. This lesson is a paid one – $5 for the digital download. But, I just love how Patty, the owner of DSS, walks you through every step to help your child create a beautiful art piece. Well worth the $5 for me!
Let me know if you follow along with our Charlotte Mason inspired astronomy winter nature study. I’d love to see your kids art work, crafts, or nature journals or hear what you’ve been learning about.
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