Following on from our Matariki celebrations and our little ones’ keen interest in looking at the stars, our focus turned to a special anniversary – 50 years since the first moon landing! We had a discussion to find out what we already knew about the moon and the landing. “The moon is in the sky - sometimes we can see it from outside”, one of our little learners said. “My dad’s been to the moon”, another child shared - “we need a rocket to get to the moon”. There were so many ideas and theories floating around and we were eager to unpack them all! 😊
Outside, the construction blocks soon became the medium used to create our very own rocket. “We need to make it big enough for all of us to fit”, said a little thinker, and together they built, modified and re-engineered their rocket until they were happy it was big enough to take them to the moon. Loose parts such as planks and boxes were also used to create rockets. Special controls were made to guide the rockets too – you wouldn’t want to get lost in space now would you? 😊
“What do you wear when you go to the moon?”, one of our teachers asked. “There is no oxygen so you need a special helmet”, one child replied with another one sharing, “You jump a lot when you go to space – like an astronaut”. In a few seconds we were raiding our dress ups, to find suitable attire for our moon adventures!
Soon some children began discussing the planets and were curious to find out how many planets there were, what they were called and what they looked like. We brainstormed together which planets we already knew of and what we wanted to find out. Using different resources we began our journey to becoming familiar with the planets and their characteristics.
To represent this in our environment, we decided to create a model of the solar system – but we needed a sky first! Using different shades of black, blue and purple paint, our little ones were invited to be creative with a paintbrush to create a ‘night sky’. Blending colours is always fun and comments could be heard around the table during this process - “At night the sky is black..during the day it is blue!”
As the night sky was drying, it was time to get our planets ready. We found and watched the solar system song which went through all the planets in depth and gave us an idea of their size, location and colour. Learning through song is a fun way for children to build their vocabulary and retain new concepts. From here, we invited our tamariki to transfer their understanding onto paper - to form the planets in our solar system.
“We need more rockets”, one child said and so we set up a rocket making station in our art area. After looking at pictures of rockets, we could see many of its features looked like shapes. Triangles, rectangles and squares were cut out using different coloured paper and transformed into rockets.
At mat time, we explored how rockets work and what helps them get all the way to the moon. Our beautiful Kathryn introduced an action song called “I’m a Little Rocket” (to the tune of I’m a Little Teapot) and this got all our ‘little rockets’ ready for take off!
The day was action packed with a lot of learning & laughs. One thing was for sure - we really had a BLAST! 😉