Last year in our homeschool science we studied astronomy, but during the school year, we didn’t have enough time to do all of the cool projects I wanted to do, in particular, a space exploration unit simulating creating a space program.
So this summer we added in a week of funschooling (my own term for it) and had fun creating our space exploration unit.
(there are affiliate links in here)
Space Exploration Unit lessons
Since the unit was only a week-long I came up with five activities, one for each day. They could easily be complete all together in one day if you’re doing this as a fun day, but I wanted them to have time to just play and be kids during the summer also. So, here’s what you’ll see in this space exploration unit.
- Design a moon landing shuttle
- Retrieve your moon landing shuttle
- Design a moon rover
- Safely cross an unstable planetary surface (our inspiration for the activity: Cross an oobleck ocean)
- Learn to “program” a robot
Space Exploration Unit Resources
We are blessed with an amazing library, so I was able to check out some amazing books. In addition, I’ve been collecting space books for years because Batman is quite the fan of astronomy (he’s why we studied it last year).
- Home on the Moon: Living on a Space Frontier– It’s a bit outdated, but it really gets you thinking on how to design a colony
- You Can’t Ride a Bicycle to the Moon– I love the illustrations, so cheerful
- Planet Mars (New True Books: Space)– The true books are a great series if you ever see them for presenting lots of information well.
- How it Works Space Exploration– Lots of diagrams for your visual learner, I always curled up with books like this and examined them in great detail.
- Space Missions (Explore Space!)– Another that is a bit older, but the material is presented so well (and most the information hasn’t changed), I had to include it.
- Space Exploration (DK Eyewitness Books)– Kids are always drawn to the Eyewitness books.
- NASA Space Vehicles: Capsules, Shuttles, and Space Stations (Countdown to Space)– This provided great fodder for tomorrow’s activity.
- Mission to Mars (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)– There was a period of time Batman checked this book out for weeks.
- Destined for Space: Our Story of Exploration (Smithsonian)– Smithsonian books, like DK books are well put together.
- Space Blog– This one provides a slightly lighter take on the material, but I caught the kids frequently reading this book.
- Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet– Again a lot of speculation in this book, but it gets you thinking.
- Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet– Batman LOVED this book and read it every day during the unit
- Messages from Mars– It’s not really what I was trying for in the books, but I love Loreen Leedy, so it gets a pass.
- Touchdown Mars!– Batman spent months checking this book out every time we went to the library.
Check out dozens more astronomy ideas on my astronomy pinterest board.