Friday, in our home-school co-op, I had the chance to teach about stars.
We talked about Hydrogen and Helium, the different properties that they each have, and how they help to create a star. Then we built them with some fancy science blocks that we borrowed from one of the other teachers. I am sure we could have used marshmallows and toothpicks though.
We talked about the birth of a star, which is actually AWESOME! Did you know that the gas starts swirling and it spins so fast that it creates energy and light, and it burns into a star. Now imagine 5 little boys trying to become stars. AWESOME right?
We did a little paint by numbers that in the end made a beautiful star. Each one was a little different, since I had to draw them by hand, but that made them all the more unique and lovely. This is one of the completed stars. I used to despise what I would call "busy work". But now I choose to see it in a different light. I recognize it for its good qualities. In this case, the paint buy numbers teaches number recognition, following direction, and fine motor skills.
The scanner is a little off, but you get the idea.
We read a story about the new star that lead the Wise men and the Shepherds to Christ.
The children loved the cutout pages, the simplicity of the words, and knowing the ending before we started. I loved teaching them about the birth of a star and then letting this story of the "new star" sink in. Oh, it opened a myriad of questions! I love their brains. They are so magnificently built. I can't wait to hear what they will say next. I love how profound they are.
There are several songs with actions about stars. "Every Star Is Different", "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", "I Am Like A Star" and many more Christmas songs featuring stars. I love driving the lesson home with the spirit! It is so fun to see them grasp something that leads them to a testimony of the divine creation. As we sing of the Savior, teach of his divinity and Majesty, and then invite the children to do the same in their own way, the spirit is so strong. Then I know the lessons they learn won't soon be forgotten.
In my mind, a unit study is the most effective way to teach a group. I love delving in to every aspect of the subject so that, in the end, it is firmly secured in the child's mind. Some children are auditory learners, others kinesthetic, others learn visually, and there are many more learning styles. With unit studies, everybody has a chance to learn in they're own preferred method.
The children I have the privilege of working with range in age from 3 to 7, so it is imperative that I have a variety of activities to do with them. I also work with mostly boys, which is actually perfect, because they are the "movers and shakers" literally. And I get that. That means we switch directions often. If I didn't have the stability of the unit study, I don't think I would be able to maintain the ebb and flow of momentum in our little corner of the classroom.
Today we covered less material because we are practicing for a play we will be preforming in two weeks.