Earth to Corbett Prep’s Early Primary Astronauts: SOAR!
PreK4-Kindergarten Students Explore and Discover Space in Meaningful Hands-On Learning Unit
Feb. 12, 2013 (TAMPA, FL) –With T-minus twenty minutes and counting, the early primary astronauts at Corbett Preparatory School of IDS suited up for their journey into space. Dressed in helmets, space packs, and protective gear, they marched across the campus of Corbett Prep to the site where the countdown for the rocket launch officially began.
Tapping in to children’s natural fascination with space, Corbett Prep PreK4 and Kindergarten teachers provided academic connections to math, science, language arts, drama, and more in the month-long unit of inquiry called 3-2-1 Blast Off. The students studied the impact of exploration and discovery in space and the dynamics of the solar system around the world.
“This unit allowed the students to see how the scientific process works by making their own predictions, connections, and observations of the universe,” said Marla Vildostegui, Division Leader and kindergarten teacher. “All of our early primary students took an enormous interest in learning and inquiring during
In addition to reading a variety of informational books, utilizing the classroom Smart Boards, Safari Montage, and various space websites, the students were able to view actual video and real photographs of each planet as they were learning about them. They were able to witness a part of history as they watched footage of the Apollo 11 mission when the astronauts walked on the moon, and they experienced the anticipation and celebration as a rover made a successful landing on Mars.
The students kept a space journal in which they reflected each day on the solar system as they gained new insights and knowledge. Math concepts were integrated into the curriculum as the early-primary astronauts jumped along number lines and solved problems. Using rulers, they measured various sized planets and space shuttles, comparing and contrasting the data.
School-home connections were also made with moon journals. Each night for a week, students and their families watched the phases of the moon and documented them in their journals.
The culminating activity, Mission to Space, involved a morning rocket launch, after which the astronauts began their exploration of the universe in hands-on discovery centers. The space-explorers boarded the Apollo 11 “elevator” to the moon, a grand room covered with pillows. To simulate the real astronauts’ experience, upon arrival, they strapped on protective space “sponge boots” for their walk on the lunar surface.
Using tools, which oddly resembled kitchen tongs, the astronauts collected samples to bring back to Earth. They made rockets to have as souvenirs of their mission, created star-gazer telescopes to help them locate celestial bodies and constellations, and gained strength from their space snack – pre-prepared pudding packaged neatly in a bag for out-of-this-world eating.
With actual footage of the mission to the moon playing in the background, students designed and built rovers to explore the surface of the moon in the classroom NASA Research Center. The astronauts also became a part of Mission Stardust by collecting dust and particle samples of a comet.
On their way back to Earth, the pint-sized astronauts watched their journey through space inside a giant planetarium bubble. The Magic School Bus video played on the ceiling, and the astronauts were able to see the sun, moon, and all of the planets as they zoomed by. In preparation for landing, the astronauts explored activities with a giant parachute.
Mission to Space has launched another pathway to lifelong learning for Corbett Prep’s youngest students, and these real-life experiences create important connections for the future.
Now to bring these young astronauts back to Earth…