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