Next week sees two celebrations:
World Space Week from 4 – 10 October, and
World Teachers’ Day on 5 October.
On the readilearn blog this week there are 20 quick suggestions for teaching and learning about space in an early childhood classroom, as well as a bookmark that can be printed and given as a gift to a special teacher.
Since its inauguration in 1999, World Space Week has been celebrated each year from 4 to 10 October. Its purpose is to celebrate the “contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition”. The dates were chosen to commemorate the launch of Sputnik 1 on 4 October 1957 and the Outer Space Treaty signed on 10 October 1967.
This year’s theme is “Remote Sensing: Enabling Our Future” which focuses on the contribution of observations from space to our knowledge of the world, including our ability to
- monitor changes in the environment, and
- understand and predict weather patterns,
- which in turn assists planning for agriculture and helps to prepare for weather events.
World Space Week has a free downloadable Teacher Activity Guide for classes from K – 12. While many of the activities are more suited to older students, there are some that can be adapted for the early grades.
There are no particular requirements for participation. You choose how to involve yourself and your students. Or, better still, introduce the topic to the children and see where their questions and suggestions lead. Contemplating the skies and what lies beyond has excited imaginations since the beginning of human time. Why not give your children the opportunity to wonder, imagine, and create?
If you have neither the flexibility nor the time to explore “space’ in depth, here are a few suggestions for incorporating learning about space in your busy program:
- Cover a large display board or wall with dark blue paper. (Each child could paint a piece of A3 paper to contribute to the background.) Add the children’s wonderings, questions, ideas, suggestions, pictures, and writing to the display.
- Ask children what they wonder about space, and record their wonderings. Many of their wonderings will match those of philosophers and scientists throughout history; for example, “Yen wonders if people live in outer space. Jan wonders what Earth looks like from space. Margot wonders how long it would take to get to the sun.” This is not a time for answers. It is a time for questions. If children are writers, you could supply them with (star-shaped) sticky notes on which to write their wonderings, one per note. Display the wonderings.
- Record what children want to know about space. This is also a time for questions, and not for answers. There will be time for answers later. It is important for children to know that their questions are both valid and valued; for example, “Marcos wants to know what happens to the stars during the day. Tejas wants to know where the sun goes at night.”
- Record what children already know, or think they know, about space, space exploration,
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.