Thursday, August 15, 2013

Night Sky Study for Outdoor Hour Challenge

Barb at Handbook of Nature Study blog challenged us to study the night sky with our children during the month of August.

My children and I made a point to go outside every clear night to look at the moon. We have done this before, but we always find it to be fun.

I subscribe to a local weather man's Facebook page. He regularly posts great things about nature, weather, and the night sky. He posted this at the first of the month.
We had just returned home from an outing about that time, so I took my older two children out back to look for it. It was spectacular! It streamed across the sky pretty quickly and you could see it become less round as the earth blocked the light from it. Then it suddenly disappeared from sight.

Another fun thing we did this month was the Oreo Moon Study. We have done this before, but it was such a hit the first time that the kids begged to do it again since we were studying the moon any way.

We also took Barb's advice (in the link, scroll down near the bottom and look for NASA) and watched the NASA video she recommends. Then we re-created the experiment. The kids had a great time with it, but it is really messy, so doing it outside helped.

It is amazing how examining one aspect of nature brings into focus many other aspects of nature. By trying to study how the craters of the moon were made, we examined our rock collection again. While we were outside, we ended up seeing swallowtail butterflies. Everything is connected. Amazing.
Our rock collection. (We used this to do our experiment about moon craters.)

Here's a crater we created, and the rock bounced completely out. We were able to see the rays pretty clearly at first. 

A close up of the "crater" we created. You can see the different strata of rock
(indicated by the jimmies). 

The kids loved this activity. They did it over and over, using all the
rocks we had. Then they would flatten the surface and do it again. It was
wildly successful. 
Overall, it was a great month studying the night sky.

****article edited to add the information about the moon crater experiment.****

I am submitting this article for the


  1. Wow. That is totally awesome about seeing the space station. What a rare treat! And speaking of treats that is a very clever oreo lesson. I'll have to share it with my sister.

    As an odd coincidence Matt and I just fixed up an telescope from Matt's boyhood that his parents gave us just last night and looked at the moon. It was pretty spectacular. The craters were most impressive. I also looked through my binoculars which I had read about and that worked amazingly well too. I could have gazed at it all night I think.

    Hope you're having a great August!

    1. Thanks, Beth. It was really cool to see the space station.

      We need to get some binoculars to see the moon.How awesome that you got to look in the night sky with a telescope Matt has had since childhood.

      We really love moon study. We have tried to do star studies, but we really struggle since we know so few of the stars. But moon study is our speed. :)

  2. What a great thing to subscribe to...would love to know what to look for as each event arrives. Thank you so much for sharing your night sky study with the OHC Carnival.

    1. Our local meteorologist loves nature, weather and the night sky. He gives us great information about upcoming things to look for.

  3. Awesome! I so want to study moon cycles. ;) ha. Great entry!

    1. Thanks, Angie. We always have fun with moon studies.