We traveled around our solar system learning about the 8 planets this week—-it was a totally out of this world experience 🙂 We have been wanting to do a planet theme for a while and with the year winding down decided now was as good a time as any! Throughout this unit the science access point recognize that there are planetary systems in the universe is explored. In our sensory group each of the boxes represented a different planet, the fine motor group made their own solar system, and the language group acted like planets! Read along to see all the fun we had.
Our first stop was Mercury. Our students used this grey floam to make squish into balls that look like the small grey planet. Floam has a really cool texture and a pretty “cosmic” look! Both the adults and students are always intrigued when we include it in one of our units.
This was a great activity for working on bilateral coordination. It also addresses the science access point (related to forces and motion) recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move.
It also addresses the math access point recognize common 3 dimensional objects such as balls (spheres).
The next planet we explored was Venus. It has swirls of blue and green clouds. We decided that a discovery bottle would be a perfect way to illustrate this feature. The bottle was made using oil, water, food coloring, green glitter, blue glitter, and blue sequins. We got a cloud-like effect and the students really enjoyed watching the swirling contents after it was shaken.
Forces and motion are again explored in the science access point track the movement of objects that are pushed or pulled.
We have used this rice before and everyone seems to like its pretty bright colors. This time as the rice was swept away, a picture of earth from space was revealed.
The science access point recognize that earth is a planet is addressed, in addition to visual and tactile discrimination skills.
In addition to exploring forces as the cookie cutter is pushed into the sand, the math access point recognize 2 dimensional shapes, such as a circle.
That red color is just SO eye catching!
They loved swirling the colors together——-can you tell they had a blast 🙂
In addition to counting the rings, recognize 2 dimensional shapes is the math access point addressed. The science access point identify objects by one observable property, such as color can also be addressed.
We added a number 8 cookie cutter to remind us that there are 8 planets in our solar system. Of course that led to discussion of what happened to Pluto, some of the adults are still miffed about Pluto’s demotion from planetary status—–but that is another story 🙂
Recognize a change in an object, a science access point, is addressed as number 8 impressions are made.
The planet Neptune was named after the greek god of the sea so we thought water was the perfect representation of this planet. A large cup and small spoon let our students explore capacity—–and the math access point recognize differences in sizes of containers that hold liquids.
The science access point recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli is addressed here.
FINE MOTOR GROUP
We made a two part art project this week! On Tuesday each student got to make their own planet. We started by counting out our small paper plates. Then each student got to pick which color—–either red, green, or blue—-that they wanted. Effectively communicate wants and needs with prompting is a language access point addressed here.
The math access point recognize a 2 dimensional shape, in this case a circle, is addressed. In addition, the science access point recognize a change in an object is also addressed.
After the planets were painted the students chose how to decorate them. The choices were colored sand, glitter, or pompom moons. We just printed out photos of the choices on a piece of paper and asked them to point to the choice.
Putting on the pompoms was great for pincer grasp practice and eye hand coordination.
On Thursday we finished our solar system. We started by stamping stars onto a black poster board. We adapted the stamps in a variety of ways, including hot gluing a thread spool or adding a piece of pool noodle to make handles.
The science access point identify an object by one observable property such as color——NAILED!!!!!!
Our students ROCK 🙂
We finished by attaching all the planets to the poster board. The students chose the location of their planets but to make sure they were secure we used hot glue to affix them.
We started by taking 2 different sized planets and asking our students to find the BIG one or find the SMALL one. They conveyed their answer either by gesturing, eye gaze, or verbalizing which one was the BIG/SMALL one.
Recognize differences in size of objects is a science access point.
We picked one of our students to be the sun and to stand still in the middle. Each of the students AND adults became “planets”, had to rotate AROUND the sun. This took a bit of prompting to get right, but after our students got the hang of it, they were revolving like true planets 🙂
Recognize three dimensional objects, such as a ball (sphere) is a math access point that can be addressed during this activity.
Recognize items as nearby is a science access point related to concepts of earth in time an space.
Our classroom solar system was a success!