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Astronomy Presentations and Field Trip Ideas

Updated on January 10, 2015
iijuan12 profile image

I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 8.

Report on Jupiter
Report on Jupiter

This is the culminating activity we did after a 4 part hands-on unit on astronomy. We held a star-gazing party and dinner. The children each presented on an assigned planet and they sang the astronomy songs we've been learning during our unit. We ate an astronomy-themed dinner and then headed outdoors to enjoy the night sky. My lessons are geared toward 2nd-3rd grade level children and their siblings. These are lessons I created to do with a weekly homeschool co-op. We meet each week for 2 1/2 hours and have 14 children between the ages of 0-12. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, family, after school program, or co-op!

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Planet Presentations

Each child was assigned a planet. They each drew, painted, etc. their planet. For their presentations, they had to at least present 3 interesting facts about their planet. They could also dress-up as their planet (Roman warrior costume for Mars, pool noodles for Saturn's rings, hula hoop with blue sheet taped to it for Uranus, blue outfit for Neptune, etc.).

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Astronomy Songs

The children sang the songs they have been learning during this unit.

a. Sing Planets Go Spinning song. (Tune: "When Johnny Comes Marching")
(Revised version from Ranger Rick Naturscope: Astronomy)

The planets revolve around the sun in Orion's Arm. (Flex arm muscle)
The planets revolve around the sun in Orion's Arm. (Flex arm muscle)
The planets revolve around the sun (Twist index finger in a circle)
And spin on their axes every one. (Spin around in place)
As they all go spinning, (Spin around in place)

Around and around in the Milky Way. (Spin around in place)
Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars (Terrestrial planets) (Hold up 1, 2, 3, & then 4 fingers)
Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars (Terrestrial planets) (Hold up 1, 2, 3, & then 4 fingers)
Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, (Hold up 1, 2, 3, & then 4 fingers)
All whirling and twirling among the stars (Spin around in place)
As they all go spinning, (Spin around in place)
Around and around in the Milky Way. (Spin around in place)

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune (The Gas Giants) (Hold up 1, 2, 3, & then 4 fingers)
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune (The Gas Giants) (Hold up 1, 2, 3, & then 4 fingers)
We now have to leave Pluto out of this tune (Hold out both hands, shake head, & frown)
As they all go spinning, (Spin around in place)
Around and around in the Milky Way. (Spin around in place)

b. Sing Day, Night, & Year song. (Tune: " The Farmer in the Dell")

The Earth rotates around, (Spin around in place)
The Earth rotates around,
Once a day, in 24 hours, (Tap wrist like you're tapping a watch)
The Earth rotates around.

The moon rotates 'round the Earth, (Hold up 1 finger & spin around in place)
The moon rotates 'round the Earth,
Once a month, 29 days, (Tap wrist like you're tapping a watch)
The moon rotates 'round the Earth.

The Earth revolves 'round the sun, (Hold out one finger & wave around in a large circle)
The Earth revolves 'round the sun,
Once a year, 365 days, (Tap wrist like you're tapping a watch)
The Earth revolves 'round the sun.

c. Sing C-O-M-E-T song (tune: B-I-N-G-O)

Comets are very cold (Cross arms in front of chest and shake like you're cold)
A "dirty snowball" I've been told (Pretend to pack and then throw a snowball)
C-O-M-E-T (3x)

Comets are very cold (Cross arms in front of chest and shake like you're cold)
The coma & tails shine like gold (Wiggle fingers in front of you like the tail)
The sun makes their gases explode (Raise up both arms to signal an explosion)
C-O-M-E-T (3x)

The coma & tails shine like gold (Wiggle fingers in front of you like the tail)
Ice, dust, and rock to behold (Hold out both hands with palms up)
An elliptical orbit Halley's Comet strolled (Move index finger around in an elliptical shape)
C-O-M-E-T (3x)

Ice, dust, and rock to behold (Hold out both hands with palms up)

University Games Great Explorations Star Explosion
University Games Great Explorations Star Explosion

I decorated the tables with these. They were a hit! After the dinner, we took them home and hung them on the ceiling in our children's bedrooms. They love having glow-in-the-dark stars to stare at as they fall asleep each night.

 
These star cookies were a hit!
These star cookies were a hit!

Space Themed Dinner

We had a delicious space themed meal.

Amongst some regular dinner items, we had fruit salad with planets (melon balls & grapes) and stars (star fruit), star-shaped tortilla crisps, chicken and stars soup, "asteroid" meatballs, star-shaped sandwiches, constellation bar cookies, moon-shaped cookies, and "asteroids" (in the form of rice krispie treats and muddy buddy bars).

If you'd like some recipes for inspiration, try:

Dora the Explorer Recipes For Star-Themed Foods

Edible Recipes from NASA

Space-themed Recipes Made from Tortillas

Star, Moon, and Sun cookie cutters or baking pans make your meal festive!

Wilton Set of 3 Star Cut Outs
Wilton Set of 3 Star Cut Outs

I love having an assortment of cookie cutter shapes! I use them for not only cookies but also for sandwiches, pizza, cheese slices, miniature cakes, and more!

 
Old River Road Moon Shape Cookie Cutter, Copper
Old River Road Moon Shape Cookie Cutter, Copper

This is an adorable cookie cutter shape of the moon. It is difficult to find ones that actually look like a moon rather than just a circle, half circle, or crescent. My children love that this one has a "man in the moon" shape!

 
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Star Gazing

After dinner we headed outside to look at satellites passing overhead. We used a telescope to see Jupiter and its moons, a galaxy, a nebulae, and more. You can just point out constellations and that would be exciting enough. We contacted our local astronomy society and had someone come out with their large telescope.

Our Favorite Telescope

Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope
Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope

This is probably one of the most reasonably priced telescopes that is actually decent to use. It has really nice optics, magnifies 150X, and it has a great mount.

 
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Where We Went on Our Field Trip: Seeing Stars

We went to a star lab at a our local Science & Space Museum to see projections of the constellations planets and hear the stories of how they got their names. You could also visit a planetarium if you have one nearby.

Ready to see the lessons?

Making planet pizzas during Lesson 1 on the solar system
Making planet pizzas during Lesson 1 on the solar system

Make planet pizzas as you study planets, form the lunar phases using Oreo cookies as you study the moon, study and paint Van Gogh's "Starry Night " as you study stars, build and blast off rockets as you study space exploration, make presentations on individual planets, and more during this 4 part hands-on unit study on the solar system.

  1. Solar System Lesson - This is part 1 of a 4 part hands-on unit on Astronomy. Make planet pizzas, take a planet walk, and more in this exciting lesson on our fascinating solar system!
  2. The Sun and the Moon Lesson - This is part 2 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Astronomy. Form the lunar phases using Oreo cookies, drop balls in flour to make a crater-filled lunar surface, recreate Galileo's famous gravity experiment, and more!
  3. Comets, Asteroids, Meteors, Stars, & Constellations - This is part 3 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Astronomy. Make a comet, study and paint Van Gogh's "Starry Night," decorate a cookie to learn the parts of the sun, form asteroids out of mashed potatoes, assemble constellations using marshmallows, and more!
  4. Astronauts, Rockets, and Space Ships Lesson - This is part 4 of a 4 part hands-on unit on Astronomy. Make rockets, try out astronaut tasks, make and eat a spacecraft, and more in this fun lesson on space exploration!
  5. Astronomy Presentations and Field Trip Ideas - This is the culminating activity we did after a 4 part hands-on unit on astronomy. We held a star-gazing party and dinner. The children each presented on an assigned planet and they sang the astronomy songs we've been learning during our unit. Also included are the field trips we took during this unit.

Reviewing the last 50 years of solar system exploration and what is to come

About Which Planet Would You Love to Know More?

See results

© 2011 iijuan12

Leave Me a Note or Ask a Question - I love getting feedback from you!

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    • iijuan12 profile imageAUTHOR

      iijuan12 

      5 years ago from Florida

      @LaraineRoses: Thank you so much!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 

      5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      Your children are very fortunate to have one-on-one lessons from a teacher of history. This is a wonderfully informative lens of how children can learn. Angel blessings!

    • joekoeman lm profile image

      joekoeman lm 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for the Lens. Interesting reading indeed. I guess children are more creative than adults after all.

      Could you please visit my lens when you have time?

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Nice ideas.

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