Category: Astronomy

Baking Soda and Vinegar Space Rocket

Age: 7 & 10

Science Co-op Session 1 Week 7: Baking Soda and Vinegar Space Rocket

Agenda:  Space Rocket

Materials Needed: baking Soda, vinegar, plastic bottle, construction paper, scissors, tape, duck tape, wine cork, plastic saran wrap, funnel, straw, paper towel

Two weeks into class, I asked Eclectic Mama is she would mind researching and running the last class.  I had a vague thought that ending our exploration of Astronomy by building a rocket was a good idea.   But I got overwhelmed by the rocket options available as I started researching so I pawned off the whole task to her instead.

Best decision ever and I will try to also ask someone else to do our last class for our next session.  They have 6 weeks to research and come up with a lesson plan and I will then have 2 weeks of recharge time.

Anyways.  As this was our last class, there was no real agenda other than to have fun building a rocket.  This took us the whole 1.5 hours because it was so so fun for the kids. (more…)

Toilet Paper Solar system 

Age: 7, 10

Science Co-op Session 1 Week 6: Solar System


  • Book on Neil Armstrong
  • Toilet paper Solar system
  • Draw your own solar system

This is week 6 of our first co-op session.  I’m reaching a point where I procrastinate prepping night after night until the night before class.   Next week Eclectic Mama will do a rocket ship presentation.  Everyone is thankful that we’re doing a 6/7 week on 1 week off schooling routine.

I’m kicking myself that I did not do this type of schedule earlier.  It gives us so much more breathing room.

This week the focus is on the planets.   Given our limited time I thought the best thing to do is to get the kids to at least memorize all the planet names in both English and Chinese.  If they want to follow up, they can do that at home.


DIY Solar Oven

Age: 7 & 10

Science Session 1 week 5: The Sun


  • Picture book – 射向太陽的箭 Arrow to the Sun
  • Solar Eclipse Overview
  • DIY Solar Oven
  • Manga Encyclopedia – 星空大搜密 Secrets of the Sky

After the First Great Lesson and a quick overview of the moon, it time to focus on the sun this week.

I’m amazed we managed to pull off an interesting project for the children for this weeks focus on the sun. As the weeks progress it takes me longer and longer to prep for my science co-op.   I really need to plan it all out in the beginning.  Prepping takes a lot of effort and is easily side tracked by life.


Montessori’s First Great Lesson

Age: 7 & 10

Science Co-op Session 1 Week 4: Montessori First Great Lesson


  • First Great Lesson Presentation
  • Van Gogh Starry Night Art
  • Break
  • Moon Log

After 3 weeks of background presentations, this week was IT, the First Great Lesson.  This presentation was already done two school years ago, in Fall 2016.   I’ve never quite liked the lesson the way it was taught to me because I don’t have the best classroom management skills yet and dealing with kids who go off script when you show them the experiments while you’re busy telling the story throws me into a loop, and then I start rushing and things fall apart.

This year, I decided to change things up by using the story as told in The Deep Well of Time.  The author advocates telling the story by doing all the presentations in the weeks leading up to the lesson, then make the story an oral story, without reading from the book.  Alas, I could not memorize the whole story.  So I did read from the book, but tried to tell it as much as possible without reading straight.

The other thing I changed was to tell the story in English so that I’m not stumbling over words and shortening the whole story because I don’t have the words for them.  Thankfully, all the children in the co-op actually could benefit from more English exposure. (more…)

Flashlight Constellations and Marshmallow Constellations

BFSU: D5 – Time and the Earth’s Turning
Montessori: Days of the Week, Months of the Year, Astronomy – Constellations

Someone asked in a FB group a few weeks ago how our BFSU curriculum was going.  That comment finally spurred me into spending a day mapping the BFSU curriculum into Montessori curriculum.  I found out that my Montessori album covers some topics in the BFSU middle school curriculum.  But there are some topics covered is BFSU that are not in my Montessori album.



I was trying to figure out our semester’s curriculum after the First Great Lesson coming up next week.  For this week, I thought we’ll cover constellations since we’ve already done planets at home.  Totally random topic.

But in doing my research, I learned that the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians used the stars to tell time!  This just happens to fit what we’re studying next week in Chapter 7 of Story of the World  and last week’s co-op topic on Clocks and Time!



The Earth’s Rotation

The BFSU’s curriculum is divided into 4 sections, Life Science, Physical Science, Earth Science, and Nature of Matter.  Since we’d been covering a lot of Nature of Matter and Physical science, I thought maybe we should cover something from Earth or Life Science.  Life science doesn’t lend itself to very fun activity in the beginning presentations.  So Earth science it was!

Thanks to the ever resourceful Co-op Mama, we the kids had a really great time.

First we started with an AC/BD presentation and Long Black Strip presentation, where I had a hard time wrangling the kids.   Then after a lunch break, we started on the presentation.

Co-op Mama first brought out her creation.  The kids went wild.  Everyone wanted to put it on.


Unit Study: Moon 月球

A month overdue.  We’ve been done with the moon unit for a few weeks now.  Just found all the pics.  

At the beginning of elementary school year, a study on time is warranted, as you need to have the concept of time in order to study history.  In Montessori, the passage of time can be experienced in different ways in addition to learning how to tell time, which the kids both learned last year.

This year, I thought we would experience the passage of time by studying the moon.  This will kill two birds with one stone.  Astroboy will be learning the names of the phases of the moon as well.

We did this all in August and September.  Though the kids interest waned after a bit half way through, I’m still glad at least Astroboy now can tell me what waxing crescent is in Chinese.

Activity #1: Moon log

Rather than starting with learning the nomenclature, I thought we would start by keeping a moon log.  Partly because when I was researching the names of the moon, it was never as simple as the abstract pictures I saw on paper.   This would also give Astroboy a sense of the passage of time.

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The moon log for Thumper included direction so that she can see that the moon travels if she observes the moon nightly.  It isn’t a requirement though because I wanted them to see that sometimes the moon comes out in the morning.

Though it would have pleased me to no end if both kids remember to look for the moon every night, it doesn’t happen.  Thankfully I’ve gone through this once 2 years ago and now I just remind them and don’t get mad about it.  However, they do marvel at the moon whenever they do happen to catch a glimpse.