Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Earth: The Perfect Place to Live

(Update: I forgot that I wanted to share these aurora videos we watched while learning about the magnetosphere. The last one, which is by BBC, was our favorite. Also, if you type in "aurora borealis" on YouTube, you'll come up with a lot of slide shows with neat pictures.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJBrMXSn-hU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoYiPul1WvI&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7kqueltv00&feature=related)


How do you study earth in the context of astronomy? In Exploring Creation with Astronomy, Jeannie Fulbright focuses on the "Perfect Design by a Perfect Designer," explaining how earth has the perfect distance from the sun, perfect mass, perfect rotation, perfect atmosphere, perfect tilt, perfect land, and the perfect magnetosphere. I was tempted to jump into geology and physical geography but restrained myself. That could go on and on and isn't really about astronomy. I satisfied myself by checking out some general books about the earth and letting the kids go off on any tangents they pleased.
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As usual, the kids added to their astronomy notebooks. The scale illustrating mass/gravity/weight came from Homeschool Share's space lapbook page. (It's the very first planet minit-book, Planets - Gravity.) The rest came from JFeliciano. (Click to enlarge.)
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We learned how the atmosphere burns up most of the meteorites that come toward the earth. But we also learned from La Paz Home Learning that you can find micrometeorites in your own yard. So we took magnets out to the downspouts to see what we could pick up - nothing. Then we tried the cracks in the driveway and came up with lots of magnetic material. To find the micrometeorites, we put our findings under a microscope and looked for tiny, shiny spheres. The only way for metal to naturally become perfectly round is by a volcano or by burning in the atmosphere. Since we don't have volcanoes around here, I'm pretty sure what we found were micrometeorites!
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This picture isn't great and you can see a much better one at the La Paz link, but if you click on this picture, you will see two tiny spheres attached to a big chunk. Those are our micrometeorites.

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To learn the layers of the earth, the kids made a fun model using these instructions.
First, stick a gumdrop in a marshmallow. This represents the inner and outer cores.
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Melt 13 marshmallows with 1 Tbsp. butter in the microwave. Mix in 2 cups Rice Crispies. Pack around that first marshmallow. This is your mantle.
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Cover in chocolate. The directions said to use Magic Shell, which we did, but it really didn't work that well. It was too messy, leaked into the cereal layer, and never really hardened. I think melted chocolate chips would work a lot better for the crust.
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Cut in half to reveal all four layers.
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Tangent #1. Miah decided to make a model of the atmosphere on the wall.
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Oh look . . . atmosphere! And crust!
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Tangent #2. Making sand out of rocks. One of the books had a page about the ocean and how the waves turn rocks to sand. For about three days, Miah would announce that she was going to work then go outside and hammer rocks.
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Larkin went at it in a more boy-like manner.
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And paid for it.
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Didn't stop him though.
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He was able to garner a little sympathy from Rohan.
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Ta-da! Sand!
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Tangent #3. Making a river. . .
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. . . which quickly overflowed and invited everyone to play.
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Exploring magnetism with a little kit I found at Hobby Lobby.
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Making a compass.
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And finally, the earth narrations.
Miah’s Planet

Earth is the right distance from the sun. If it was closer, then it would be too hot. If it was farther away, it would be too cold. Earth has gravity, so you cannot float into space. If earth went too fast, there would be too many hurricanes. If the earth went too slow, the days would be hotter, and the nights would be colder. In the middle of the earth, it’s hot. The layers of the earth are inner core, outer core, mantle, and crust. If there was no magnetosphere, then solar wind would go inside the earth, and it would be no good. There are seven perfect things about the earth: distance, mass, rotation, atmosphere, tilt, land, and magnetosphere.

Larkin’s World

The earth is the right distance from the sun. If the earth was too far away from the sun, then the earth would be too cold. If the earth was too close to the sun, then it would be too hot. If the earth was spinning too fast, then it would have too many hurricanes. The earth has the inner core, outer core, mantle, and the crust. At the south pole and the north pole, you could see the aurora. The aurora is beautiful. The outer core makes the magnetosphere. The magnetosphere makes the solar wind go around it. Distance, mass, rotation, atmosphere, tilt, land, and magnetosphere are the greatest things in the earth.



"The evil within a child should be starved while feeding the mind with spiritual and wholesome knowledge so that the image of the Creator will once again be evident." -Charlotte Mason

13 comments:

  1. NEAT!!! Say, do you have any good ideas for learning to tell time? :)

    Have a happy, wonderful sorta day, Sarah! :)

    PS-Do you have any pics of yourself? :) I love to put a name with a face...just ignore me if you prefer to remain mysterious! HAHA! :)

    Amy

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  2. I love the idea of an atmosphere model on the wall!! Wow!!

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  3. Wow, how fun! Can we come learn with you? ;)
    I LOVED your pictures!

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  4. Wonderful, Sarah!

    Love those edible layers of the globe. That's a lesson they'll never forget.

    The wall chart is amazing. You are too!

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  5. Unbelievable, unfathomable. How good God is. How wonderful His creation. I saw a video presentation on astronomy by a neat Christian man (I know it's gotta be on YouTube - I can't remember his name.) He talked about the size of stars, pictures from the Hubble. Made me feel so small and insignificant. Then I was reminded that God knit me together, that He knew me before time began. Goose-bumps and tears.

    PS: I'm with Amy (above). The picture I have in my mind of you is completely inaccurate, I'm certain. Miss Nelson from the book, "Miss Nelson is Missing". I KNOW that's not right. But she was such a fabulous teacher!

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  6. There's a picture of me on this post, third picture down:
    http://theforestroom.blogspot.com/2009/06/out-on-pier.html
    There was one other one but apparently photobucket decided to delete pictures from the first few months of my blog.
    Abby, come on over. (For real.)

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  7. Wow. I just love your posts, you give me such inspiring ideas for activities to do with my own critters. I was looking for some more unique ideas for our astronomy unit.
    Thanks!

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  8. Great ideas...love all the photos, especially the muddy barefeet one.:-)

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  9. What a rich education you are providing. It is a joy to see and inspiring.
    Jenn

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  10. I replied to your comment Sarah on my blog...lol...never can decide if I should reply on MY blog or on the COMMENTERS blog...oh well!

    Blessings!
    Amy

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  11. Love your atmosphere work!

    About rocks and hammers. We visited an old grist mill that had the 2 stones grinding grain. The stones had to stay rough to be used for grinding. The men whose job it was to keep the stones rough could show their experience by showing how much rock was imbedded in their hands!!! My kids loves rocks and hammers too.

    This youtube video shows a man roughing the stones @ 2:15 minutes. Not the most exciting video, but gives you the idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Enmvuf_x2IQ

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  12. My what wonderful ideas you have! We are studying the solar system right now also.
    Blessings,
    Diane

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  13. Hi! I'm loving your blog, too! :) This was a particularly fabulous post! What a great collection of ideas!

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