The anxious children piled into the planetarium, admired the projection equipment, and took their seats. The children learned why the moon appears to change its shape, took an imaginary trip to each planet in the solar system, calculated how much they would weigh on the surface of the moon, learned about asteroids and comets, and learned about the electromagnetic spectrum and how astronomers use x-rays to learn more about the universe.
Afterwards, the children visited Fiske's interactive science museum. The children were particularly interested in the large meteorite, which they learned had been part of an asteroid that was likely to have been the size of a building and large enough to have volcanic activity. They were also very interested in learning about the dark volcanic maria and prominent impact craters on the moon and they really enjoyed interacting with this sculptural relief of the surface of the moon.
At the conclusion of our visit, the children convened on the lawn for a "special treat" of astronaut ice cream, which they enjoyed while reading Max Goes to the Moon, a book in an amazing series written by a former University of Colorado PhD candidate in astrophysics.
In the coming weeks, we will continue our inquiry into astronomy by learning about the history of space exploration. As part of the unit, the children will be learning about rockets and forces. Children will learn about gravity, thrust, and drag. They will be introduced to the personage of Issac Newton and have the opportunity to construct and launch their own single stage model rocket.