Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Solar System {Mercury & Venus}


homeschool ideas for Solar System

We are really enjoying our Solar System Unit!  This week we dove right in to the first two planets: Mercury and Venus.

We started off with a little bit of review by lining up all of the planets using ordinal numbers, and singing The Planets Song.


Then I quizzed the boys with different questions like, Name the fourth planet and What planet is nearest the sun?


I checked out 3 books for each planet, each being a different difficulty level of reading.  These Far-Out Guide books are the favorite, and are packed with tons of information.


We all read aloud together the articles on the planets and filled out the Q&A section in the workbooks I made.  (Check out this website for some free printables.)

The Mercury Experiment

Then we did a little experiment.  One of the books said that Mercury was about the size of the moon, but was around 4 times as heavy.  So we got out our balance scale, and two similar containers.  The boys filled one of them with marbles until it weighed 4 times as much as the other one.


This was a great demonstration in density, and how two things of similar size don’t always equal the same weight.  We reviewed what we had learned about the composition of the planet Mercury to explain why it weighed more than our moon.


For Venus we filled out a KWL Chart.  This is what we already (K) know,  what we (W)  want to learn, and (L) what we learned.  This gives the boys some accountability with being responsible for finding what they want to learn about. 



I gave them each a book on Venus and asked them to find one interesting new fact about the planet and report back to the group.  What a great way to learn how to start to research!


Last we drew out a Venn diagram to compare and contrast Venus to it’s “sister planet”,  Earth. The boys did a great job remembering all of these facts!

Next:  Earth & Moon


Jenny K said...

I loved reading how you handle homeschooling for your older children as well!

I'd love to read more posts like this one!

Sarah said...

Thanks Jenny! Sometimes it is hard to know how to write about what the boys are doing when it's just normal book stuff. But these fun units there is so much to document. I have so many more coming so I hope you enjoy those as well!