Posts Tagged ‘Earth and Space’

Earth and Space Series

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Earth-And-SpaceThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

We’ve had such a great time this year, doing all the hands-on activities in the book Earth and Space by Bright Ideas Press. We’ve formed Earth layers out of clay, dramatized the moon revolving and rotating around the sun, shook sandy earthquakes, dyed plate tectonic eggs, erupted a volcano, grown stalactites, cooked layered sedimentary rocks, performed skits of the water cycle and ocean currents, raced slow glaciers down a ramp, watched how groundwater sinks through layers of sand and pebbles, painted an atmosphere mural, made homemade weather instruments, created a tornado in a bottle, performed a ridiculous weather report, colored the phases of the moon on paper plates and Oreos, made sun prints, and created fun planet cards for the solar system. We did lots of other activities, too, which I mention in the videos contained in each blog post.

Besides all the wonderful hands-on activities in the Earth and Space book, the text was fun and conversational and included plenty of rich vocabulary for each topic. The printable diagrams were great, and all the printables were on a computer disc that came with the book. (The disc is attached to the back inside cover and can be removed after purchasing the book.) This makes the pages easy to copy, since you don’t have to slap a large book on the photocopier. (You are allowed to print copies for your own family.) My kids enjoyed coloring the gorgeous coloring pages, too, so make sure to have some quality colored pencils on hand before beginning the book. We placed all the pages into a notebooking binder, and we decorated the outside of the binder. (I show you how we did this in the first video tutorial below.)

I thought it would be easier for people to find all the posts if I made an index page, so here it is. When you use the book Earth and Space by Bright Ideas Press, be sure to come back and watch the experiments to help you see how they can be done.

Earth and Space Series:

  1. The Earth: Hands-on Activities
  2. Plate Tectonics and Earthquakes
  3. Make Your Own Volcano
  4. Caves Unit Study
  5. Edible Sedimentary Rocks
  6. Water Unit Study
  7. Groundwater Experiment
  8. Atmosphere Unit Study
  9. Hands-on Activities for Weather
  10. Ridiculous Weather Report
  11. Moon Unit Study
  12. Solar System Unit Study

Solar System Unit Study

Monday, April 21st, 2014

solar-system-unit-studyThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

We did a super fun solar system unit study during the past month, and these are the hands-on activities that we did. As we were doing the last four chapters in Earth and Space by Bright Ideas Press, we came across the brilliant idea to make our own planet cards. The book recommends using 3 by 5 cards, and there is no reason why you can’t cut these out from black card stock paper so that the planets are pasted against a black sky. You draw the planets on one side of the card, and you write a description of each card on the other side.


Be sure to check out plenty of planet books from the library so that your kids can do research on each planet. We also had a DVD about the planets, which my kids have enjoyed over the years.

You can make model planets with styrofoam balls, painting them in bright colors. We did this years ago, and I used a sewing needle to stab into the ball’s edge in order to hang them up in my sons’ bedroom.


Go to a planetarium if you can, so that you can get a description of what the universe looks like. You will also want to go to an observatory to see the far reaches of space. At the very minimum, you should go stargazing out in the country. Try to pick out the constellations. Here is a description of how to go stargazing:

You can also make tin can constellations. I give you a description of how to do this in the demonstration video at the bottom of this post.


Besides the planets and stars, you will want to study the sun. There is one chapter in the Earth and Space book about the sun, giving a rich description of the center of our solar system. The hands-on project for that chapter was to make sun prints. You will have to watch the following video to see how we make the sun prints. Or you can read about how we made sun prints several years ago:

Here is a demonstration video for our solar system unit study:

We have enjoyed using Earth and Space by Bright Ideas Press this year. Why not pick up a copy of the book for your science curriculum next year? You will love it!

Moon Unit Study

Monday, April 14th, 2014

moon-unit-studyThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

Join us as we do a moon unit study! We will explore the phases of the moon through hands-on activities. We are continuing our study of Earth and Space by Bright Ideas Press, and we have arrived at the outer space chapters. There is a super cool lunar observation chart in the book, which my kids filled out for 28 days as we looked up at the moon each night. (No, we didn’t howl like coyotes while doing so!)

When you study the moon, be sure to look through some binoculars at least, since you can see the craters of the moon in greater detail. You can also use a telescope to see even more details.

One hands-on activity from the book was to draw the phases of the moon on paper plates. We drew them with pencil, outlined over the pencil with black marker, and colored in the moons with black crayon. We also made an Earth on one of the paper plates. We stuck them all to the wall, and the kids were able to learn the phases of the moon by matching the plates with the labeled index cards.

We used Oreo cookies to do the phases of the moon according to the Bright Ideas Press chart from the book. You can see a simplified version here, where there are only eight phases. I decided to use black poster board and a silver Sharpie marker to make the chart. We opened the Oreo cookies and made moons out of each one, placing them into the chart.

Take a look at how we did these activities:


Ridiculous Weather Report

Monday, April 7th, 2014

ridiculous-weather-reportThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

Why not record a ridiculous weather report with your kids? We had a blast! We got this idea from one of the weather chapters from Earth and Space by Bright Ideas Press. We are having a ball doing all the hands-on activities in the book.

You can choose to do a weather forecast about tornadoes or hurricanes. You can then add other crazy weather phenomena. If you have young children, you can tie in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which has food raining from the sky. You can film your children dropping food onto a town made out of Legos. Slop a big pancake on top of a skyscraper. Have fun!


You will need a desk and a chair so that your children can look like official reporters. A suit and tie makes boys look super sharp, and girls can wear dresses or collared shirts with pants. A dark background is preferable, especially if you are going to act out the news on the side.


My son made a tornado warning on a long strip of paper taped together. He wrote his warning with black permanent marker. You need two people to run the paper along the bottom of the screen while you are filming. You have to hunch down so nobody sees you, and hold the paper tight by pulling on each end, while making it go across the screen.

As you can see, we also had a hurricane filmed by splashing a toy boat in a pot full of water. We stirred the pot with a wooden spoon, throwing in an ice cube to represent the iceberg.


Try to get your kids to enunciate clearly. I had one son that would slur his words together, and it was difficult to understand what he was saying, especially when he was trying to talk with a farmer accent.

You can also interview people as to which season they like best and why. This was one of the activities suggested in the book, and we decided to incorporate that into the weather report. You can do interviews of people who have survived earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. Also, any eyewitnesses can describe weather catastrophes. You can wildly exaggerate these until your kids are laughing hysterically!


You can also use mirrors and any other props for your weather report. We used a mirror and lots of matchbox cars to dramatize the weather report about freezing rain, where cars were slipping all over the place. It was ironic that pizza was ordered at the end of that clip, because the pizza delivery guy would still have to drive in those slippery conditions.


Here is the 4-minute video where we do a ridiculous weather report:



What I loved about this activity is that we were able to bring in clips from other Earth and Space videos. For example, we brought in the volcano eruption from Make Your Own Volcano and the earthquake scene with sand and Legos from Plate Tectonics and Earthquakes. We also brought back the sun character (with sunglasses and a yellow sun label) that has made appearances in several of the videos, starting with the first video in The Earth: Hands-on Activities post. Can you tell that we’re having fun with this book? Why not grab this Earth and Space by Bright Ideas Press for your science curriculum for next year? Your kids will love it!