Week 1 (ish): Moon phases
- Bribe children with chocolate biscuits to watch this
- Look at our little plastic model of moon/earth and try to work out what the heck is happening. Or get dh to run around with a torch and a ball. (Definitely better to leave it to the physicist of the family)
- Start a lunar cycle chart: http://sciencenetlinks.com/tools/lunar-cycle-1-calendar/
- Lunar eclipse: http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/2007/0812-lunar_eclipse.htm
- Orbital forces experiment: http://lunar.arc.nasa.gov/education/activities/active19.htm
Week2 (ish): Tides and craters
[Not sure why those things go together, but it works for me.]
- Tides: http://www.ehow.com/video_5238520_moon-affects-changing-tides.html
(need map/pictures of moon/craters; deep tray and the patience of a saint while children spill stuff all over the house)
Week 3 (ish): The Sun
- Make a sundial - e.g. printout the pointer and base here:
then move to a country where the sun actually shines at a strength that makes a sundial useable.
Week 4 (ish): The sun, day and night, seasons and other sun-ish stuff
- Sit kids in front of this video that shows a model of earth going round the sun while sneaking off to the corner shop to buy more chocolate biscuits.
- Seasons. (btw, someone should put in a complaint to the met office that Britain was due a summer between June and August and it didn't turn up.)
Week 5(ish): Solar System
- Make a solar system mobile
This is where I spend 2 hours cutting out fiddly little shapes and sticking them together while the kids wander off...probably to eat more biscuits.
- Discuss the position of the planets. Or point the kids towards a book and make knowledgeable noises. Watch parts of The Planets series that I recorded years ago anticipating this very moment. Or take note of the kids' rolled eyes and lengthy sighs and get them to watch the (much shorter) videos here:
Mercury here: http://science.discovery.com/videos/space-school-mercury.html
Week6(ish): More Solar System
(need ball about 8 inches in diameter(football); 2 pins with small round heads; 1 pin with very small round head;2 peppercorns; 1 small walnut; 1 acorn; 2 peanuts; Index cards; Glue or tape; Bright markers; yardstick; Large park and some maternal enthusiasm. Latter might be in short supply.)
- Listen to some Holst The Planets,
or get a CD from library. Then acknowledge that none of the kids are interested but go through the motions anyway, because, after all, you are a home educator.