Last week recap
Welcome back to the Big Bear Cubs blog! This past week our class focused on forming strong and trusting relationships. I designed our week of Feelings and Emotions with an emphasis on teaching these topics in a powerful but age appropriate way. Through different activities my students practiced expressing their thoughts, feelings, and emotions in a constructive way, while simultaneously respecting the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of others. These are such vital skills for everyone to learn and I believe exposing students to these topics at an early age is extremely beneficial. If you would like to read my full blog where I go in depth into our week of feelings and emotions click here. With our quick recap out of the way lets dive right into my theme for the week: space!
Space Exploration in the Big Bear Cubs Classroom
Space is an incredibly exciting topic, not only for my students but for me as well. There is so much to learn and explore in space and thanks to incredible research by people around the world we know more about space than we ever have before. Researching and planning this week for my students has been so fun for me, and helping my students learn and watching them get excited about learning is what makes my experience here at Honey Bear Preschool so special.
The idea of space is one that has filled the minds of kids and adults alike for as long as humans have looked up at the sky in wonder. The worries of our lives here on Earth seem to melt away, becoming as insignificant as we are in the grand scheme of the galaxy. Astronauts themselves have said that when they look down at Earth from outer space the conflicts we concern ourselves with seem so small compared to the vastness of space. They learn perspective, humility and understanding, something I hope to teach my students as well. There is something about the idea of a near infinite universe that sparks the imagination, ignites curiosity, and captures the love of learning inherent within all of my amazing students.. I love watching the amazement on children’s faces when they learn about space; their eyes going wide as I describe the size of planets, the wonderful colors of the universe, and the mysteries of the final frontier that we are still hoping to discover.
I started off our week in space by teaching my students about the sun, moon and planets of our solar system. Those are all things they can see in the sky and it makes the idea of space much more tangible for my young learners. We learned about the sun and how its heat and light are vital for life to flourish. We learned about the 8 planets of our solar system and poor Pluto which has been demoted. Some of my students were sad that Pluto wasn’t a planet anymore and wanted to know if we could make it one again. I think we may have a few future astrologers in the Big Bear Cub Classroom!
Finally our introduction to space ended with a lesson on the Moon. We learned how the moon was formed, how old it is, and the people who were brave enough to venture into space and walk on it all those years ago. During circle time I asked my students “Do you know that people called astronauts go into outer space in spaceships, and some went all the way to the moon?” This really got my students attention and so many of them asked me, “Ms. Sandra, can I walk on the moon?”. I think they all wanted to have fun in zero gravity.
To end our introduction to space I read my students a book about the first moon landing called, “One Giant leap”, by Robert Burleigh. At the end of the story I asked my students. What do you think you’d need to be an astronaut and go to the moon? Students shouted “we need rockets”, “Helmets”, “food”. Throughout the rest of the week we continued our exploration of space learning about stars, asteroids, space travel, and so much more. Here are some of the space themed activities my students took part in over the course of the week.
Hands-on learning is one of the best ways for young minds to learn new concepts. During this activity I set up different planets organized by their size and distance. In this picture you can see my students investigating and comparing the size of the different planets and seeing how close they are to the earth.
To help my students imagine how it would feel to work inside a small spaceship, I challenged them to work inside a small space tent in unusual positions. This helped the big bear cubs understand what it would be like to work in space and gave them a great appreciation for the work astronauts do. After having to work like this for a little while some of my students decided that being an astronaut might not be for them!
Students can use their imagination with slime as they create and sculpt while strengthening their fine motor skills. It also helps students self regulate and encourage discussions. By having them all play together my students could make things in group or by them selves. They also could see what everyone else was making and had long discussions about their creations. I loved hearing my students discussing about bringing slime to space. What would the slime feel like in space? Would it float, would it spill every where?
Some things we just don't know, but it was great listening to their debates and respectful disagreements. Here at Honey Bear we emphasize the importance of being respectful of other people opinions even if you might disagree with them and seeing my big bear cubs fully embrace respectfulness with each other is an amazing this to watch.
Open Space table
Giving children time to discover things on their own can foster creativity and independence. Here we have some students exploring rocks and asteroids! We also have space pictures for the big bear cubs to look and create what they see in the picture using wikki stix. Wikki stix is made of a non-toxic wax and yarn, they are soft, pliable and easy for young fingers to use. Wikki stix are also great to help boost a child's creative confidence because it is easy to make complex shapes and creations using these toys.
Space Related Art
My students went above and beyond with their space art. Here you can see how my students are using their creativity, literacy, fine motor skills and problem solving to create beautiful space art. My students are now able to describe what the solar system is, describe the properties of different planets and classify them into rocky and gassy.
Next in the Big Bear Cubs Class
Going, going, going, gone! It's a home run!!! Our theme next week is sports! My students will have fun learning all about sports and engaging in sports activities! If you would like to see all the fun games and sports activities don’t forget to visit the Big Bear Cubs Blog. Thanks so much for reading, I can't wait to share all the fun we have next week in the Big Bear Cubs classroom!