Yes, I am talking about the planets and specifically earth as it rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun. I have used balls in my hands and had Gess watch videos to explain this, but then my curriculum used a technique that really just clinched it for Gess and I just had to share. It's so simple I don't know why I never thought of this before. Well actually yes I do. I am not very creative. That's the hardest part of teaching for me. However, while I am not so great at thinking outside the box I am very good at research and adapting methods once the idea has been started. Joining the Schoolhouse Review Crew has also been helpful as I have found some excellent resources I might not have otherwise tried before and that's exactly where these helpful tools came from!
You might remember the review I did for Christian Kids Explore Science: Earth & Space last April. I told you how I jumped ahead in that book for the purpose of my review to follow along with our current study of the weather. Well, we loved the curriculum so much I was anxious to start back at the beginning but since it was so late in the school year I figured I would start that this year. So here we are starting to learn about the earth.
Two very important facts that we learn is how the earth revolves around the sun giving us our seasons and how it rotates on its axis giving us our days and nights. Here is a demonstration the book suggested to show the kids what that actually means. This was very hands on and now Gess not only remembers the definitions but now she also comprehends what they mean!
First we learned about the difference between revolving and rotation. To do that they simply have you put a chair in the middle of the room and have the child walk around it. Now tell the student "you are revolving around the chair."
Ok, then have them stand in place and spin in a circle. Now explain that they are "rotating." At this point you also make them stop facing the chair and again facing away from the chair and note how the sun would be actually be shining (or not shining) on it at that time giving us day and night.
Then I had another great curriculum Weather on the Move which expanded on the rotation concept and showed why the equator gets more sun than the poles do they have another activity to try. Here you use a tennis ball, rubber band, and a flashlight. You are supposed to do it holding the ball in one hand and the flashlight in the other but instead I just propped the flash light up to hit the center of the ball and did it on the floor so Gess could manipulate it better. Now you see how the earth is actually moving rather than the sun (no rising or setting going on) and why the earth is warmer around the equator (the rubber band) and colder on the poles.
Science is Gesserine's favorite subject but it never was mine, however I am finding that I like it more and more as I see see it through the eyes of a child discovering it for the very first time! It's also helpful when I am able to find materials that are geared towards hands on activities, experiments and projects.