Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Painting the Sun

As per previous posts, we are still working on our solar system studies. Last week we scaled the solar system to our "classroom" (really our rec-room serving double duty!). We have two scales: How far apart the planets are and how large they are compared to one another. It may sound confusing but it really isn't.

Through this activity we learned a few things: How to determine what the scale is, how to find the measurements of each object (or space between them), and problem solving. I have gotten real big on building problems solving skills with my children.

Being in public school and struggling, both child #2 and child #3 have just followed the masses. If the teacher said write, "The Dog" they wrote, "The Dog". If they teacher said, "Color the circle Blue," well... they colored the circle blue and they didn't ask why. But I want them to ask "WHY". I want them to understand and deduct from reasoning for themselves. Something their inabilities did not give them the luxury to do BHS (Before HomeSchool). It is a skill that will become crucial to their success (or any child's success) as they progress through life.

Here is a simple problem solving exercise: You have 9 planets ranging in size from 1" in diameter to 28" in diameter. They are all cut out on white poster board. How are you going to color them?

Child #2: "With Markers"

Mom: "Yes, you could do that, but the larger ones are big circles. Is it possible that you might run out of ink in your marker before you are done?"

(child #2 is thinking and seems to see the logic)

Child #3: "We can paint them"

Mom: "Yes, you definitely could. Now, do you want to paint them with the acrylics or do you wish to use finger paints?"

(Heads dart up and faces glow)

Children 2,3,and4 agree: "FINGER PAINTS!!!"

It may be 20ยบ outside but finger painting really warmed up their day! After all, they are painting the sun!

So, for those of you who have done the quick math so far, yes, I know the sun is too small for a 1" Pluto to have relative size. This is just a sample of the sun. The real sun would have needed to be 128". I have plans for that... but not enough poster board for the full size! We still have to hang our solar system and I will be sure to post the finished product in case you are wondering how we are going to make it all work!

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