Our students started showing an interest in space, so we decided to start an inquiry in our classroom. We planned activities, and centers based around space and we did them over 2 weeks. During this time, we watched videos, read books and did research to learn more about, and answer questions about space. Hopefully this post will give you some ideas for your math and literacy centers during your space inquiry.
Star Sight Words
We taped some stars to our ceiling that had sight words written on them. Our students could use a ‘telescope’ (a piece of black construction paper that I rolled up and taped) to find a sight word, then they wrote it in the moon sand.
I made the moon sand by adding some black tempera paint to salt. I mixed it really well, and let it dry overnight. The next day it was really hard, but I just had to break it up using my fingers and it was ready to go!
Our students loved practicing our sight words this way, and it kept them engaged for a long time.
Star Sight Word Craft
We continued our sight word work with this literacy center. We traced a star on a yellow piece of paper, and our students cut them out. Then they added the strips of paper, and the sight word to their star. They turned out so cute and our students loved them!
Our small world center turned into a construction site during our space unit. Students could use the blueprint page to draw their spaceship, then try to build it using the blocks. I also had an iPad available to them so that they could take a picture of their creation.
Our students loved this so much that we left it out for two weeks and they never seemed to get bored of it. I was inspired by this blog post from Pocket of Preschool. I also printed out pictures of their creations and put them up on the wall so that they could see what others had made.
Our space-themed sensory bin had black beans as the base and I added gems and balls of aluminum foil to it. The plastic balls had letters on them that they could use to spell out the sight words that were on the sticks.
Constellation Chalk Art
We put out constellation cards, black construction paper and chalk, and let students explore and draw. They tried recreating each of the constellations, and discussed what they noticed about the different constellations.
I also had a small bowl of water available to them so they could try dry or wet chalk and see the difference.
We put the same constellation cards back out on a different day, this time with beads and pipe cleaners. Students tried to use these materials to recreate the constellations.
This was a great challenge for our students, and was perfect for working on problem solving and fine motor skills.
Space Play Dough
We invited students to explore the different materials, and try to recreate the craters we see on the moon. They could use the different items any way that they wanted, and it was great for exploring different textures.
We challenged our students with this construction center. They were given blocks to build a rocket as high as they could, then they measured their creation using snap cubes.
This was a very popular center and our students kept trying to make their rocket higher and higher.
For this challenge, we asked students to make a star out of snap cubes, then count how many that they used. This was a great introduction to the concept of area, and worked on their fine motor skills.
We ended our space unit with this writing prompt. We gave the students the option of writing about a planet they know about, or they could make up their own planet.
They did a great job with this, and made up some really great planets! I love that they were able to show off everything they learned about space, and still be creative!
If you would like to use this writing prompt with your students, I have added it to my Resource Library as a free download!