Thank you to all of these SIU professors who gave freely of their time and energy to help our small group of students go more deeply into topics which interested them. We are so fortunate to have this wonderful resource!!!
You can find my notes from Friday morning at my Fibers & Clothing Week 3 post. Here are my notes from Science Club, and some pictures from our day.
Shibori Dyeing with Indigo - AM
this is the one which uses a pole
Science Club - PM
First we "blasted off" to explore our third planet, the oh-so-speedy Mercury!
The two snow days which have interfered with our Science Club meetings in January and February have thrown off my timing a bit and we will have to look at the remaining planets after Spring Break. We are looking first at, and comparing, the 4 planets which are blueish and greyish. After Spring Break we will look at and compare the 4 planets which are reddish and yellowish.
To "visit" the planet of Mercury, we followed the same procedure as we did for Neptune and Uranus.
I welcomed the students as their intergalactic tour guide.
I read them the planet poem from Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars by Douglas Florian.
I read them the information on the origins of the planet's name from Greek & Roman Mythology from Kingdom of the Sun: A Book of the Planets by Jacqueline Mitton.
We looked at interesting facts about the planet in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Space & Space Exploration: Discovering the Secrets of the Universe.
We looked at the photo cards for the planet in The Photographic Deck of the Solar System.
We went drew an illustration of the planet. For the greys and craters of Mercury we used willow charcoal.
We calculated the scale (distance from the planet to our Sun in km / 162,500,000) and then measured and placed the planet card at the appropriate spot along the Solar System String. We were surprised to find that little Mercury was only 36 cm from the Sun!
For our home planet, Earth, we followed a bit of a different procedure. We had Dr. Scott Hamilton-Brehm as our tour guide and I introduced him by laying out only the lowest branch of the Tree of Life and only leaf #1. This is the most ancient life, the Archaea. I believe that the thing that makes Earth remarkable among the planets is not that it is a "blue marble," for we have seen that several planets share its coloring. It is actually the GREEN on our Earth, the LIFE found here, that makes it stand out.
Dr. Hamilton-Brehm is a microbiologist who specializes in archaea and extremophiles, hunting for answers about earliest life and how it evolved (and he complimented me on our Tree of Life puzzle and how beautiful it was). He led us through many topics -- blending Astronomy, Chemistry, and Microbiology -- to explore the question of the origins of life on Earth as well as whether it may be found on other planets. He stayed afterwards to answer student and parent questions, and then to meet with me about the book we are collaborating on writing together. He and I are hoping to create new curriculum resources presenting more up-to-date scientific information which can be used for the Second Great Lesson in Montessori classrooms.
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