Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Crisis of Astronomical Proportions!

Everybody knows that one day, the Sun will cease to produce light and heat, collapsing in on itself, turning Earth into a frozen wasteland. Most scientists predict that this will happen five billion years from now, so you can imagine our surprise when we came into school one day and realized it was happening much sooner than anyone could have anticipated.

We had a great discussion about why our Sun exploded. As it turns out, we had over-stuffed our beautiful star with newspaper, and it could not handl
e the weight. We came up with a few ideas on how to rebuild the Sun, most children suggesting either a smaller Sun or less newspaper. We decided to try the latter option, and if it still did not hang, we would make a smaller one.

We've been talking about recycling lately, and thinking about the activities we've done in the classroom that involved reusing materials that would otherwise get thrown away (shoe box pyramid, appliance box space ship, cork game, paper towel tube telescopes) and realized we could make little space ships out of toilet paper tubes. Check out the bulletin board for the results!

We also have a great new space toy, which many of you may remember from your precious childhood days: the View-Finder!! It seems rather 'old school' now, but the children love looking at the slides.

Another (ongoing) art project we've been working on was truly an open-ended activity: decorate a box (we had plenty of leftovers from Egypt). The children got to choose which materials they wanted to put on the box, and everyone had a chance over the course of several freeplays to add their own piece to the box. We will be hanging it up this week. This ain't no ordinary box!

And...although I was sick, I was informed that the Valentine's Day festivities were enjoyed by all. Here are some pictures taken by Amanda:

Now that we've become so comfortable with the alphabet, the children are really enjoying writing their own stories, or trying to spell out words on their own. This is something they are genuinely excited about, and I cannot tell you how thrilling it is. Many parents have been telling me that the excitement has also been happening at home, so encourage it whenever possible! Here are some photos of your young writers in action:

And finally, I'm sure you heard, but our field trip to the Natural History Museum (or, as some of the children referred to it as, the 'Matchural Mystery Museum') was a lot of fun. Most of us were able to explore the dinosaur halls in addition to the three floors of space exhibits. It's not just for kids, there is some real mind-blowing stuff at that museum, especially the 'Scales of the Universe,' which attempts to convey how small and insignificant we really are.

On that note!

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