We are studying space in the K1 classroom. Students are full of questions about the universe and life in space such as, “What does it feel like in a black hole?”, “What animals have been to space?”, “Why do we even need to go to space?”, “Why are they floating?” and “How do they eat in space?”
One morning, the first graders designed the outside of our in-classroom spaceship. We researched what the space shuttle looks like and were inspired by the design. Students measured the length of the ship, cut out the butcher paper and worked together to draw and paint. The vessel was aptly named Perseverance.
We have been creating many space art projects. The students used oil pastels and water colors to create abstract planets. They also created beautiful sketches of outer space using tempera paint, soap, and tin foil. Our January calendar was planet-themed, and our February calendar shows the phases of the moon.
Much of our writing has been fact-writing. We watched videos from NASA and the Canadian Space Association, with behind the scenes tours of the International Space Station as well as short videos answering popular questions about life as an astronaut aboard the ISS. After watching, we discussed some of the facts we had learned. Then students worked independently, recording facts they found especially interesting.
We’ve undertaken many interesting math investigations "aboard" the International Space Station. Students solved word problems to determine how much food they had in their ISS inventory. Then they used base-10 blocks to solve some double digit addition problems about the space program. We relish the ability to differentiate math and to tackle exciting math. For example, in one challenge, students determined how much a space suit weighs. Some added 100 + 100 + 100. Others added 50 + 40 + 30 + 50 + 60 + 20 + 40 + 10 using blocks, while others had to solve 117 + 42 + 63 + 78 using drawings, blocks, or mental math. All students arrived at the same final answer: 300. The students are all rising to the challenge!
One day we decided to take a LONG hike as part of our astronaut training, building our endurance and practicing our adventuring skills. We passed by the vernal pools that we’ll visit again in the spring and made a big loop past Flint’s Pond and deCordova. On our way back we found tracks of what we thought might be aliens…stay tuned for more adventures to come!