Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lesson on Saturn Followed by a Fun Craft For Kids

An educational lesson followed by a craft activity that ties in really helps the lesson to sink in.  On the topic of planets, here is a fun group activity I presented this summer to a class of ages 2.5 through 6.  For this activity, I flipped through library books to show the children imagery of the real Saturn. I explained how things aren't always what they seem to be in a far-away picture and by taking a closer look, we can see that Saturn's rings aren't solid and that they are made up of ice chunks, rocks, dust, and so forth.

This activity focuses on a close-up of Saturn's rings.  The children enjoyed cutting up "ice chunks, rocks and dust particles" out of strips of craft paper.  

You may have to prepare a few things before the children can begin:

Cut out circles from construction paper, about the size of an outer rim of a soup bowl.  Then cut out an elipse shape that is about the entire length of a piece of construction paper.  Fold the elipse in half, and cut a slit from the center fold, 2 or 3 inches down.  Open it up and make sure one of the circles can fit through it (see image below) Cut out a couple of long strips of scrap paper with a width a little less than an inch.  We used some funky animal print paper to make things colorful and abstract.  I rarely measure things out and just cut things out freehand, so hopefully the images help!  Below, I added glue ahead of time, but you can always have the kids do that as well.  

Offer scissors to each child to cut the strips into "ice chunks, rocks and dust," or simply tell them to tear the paper up if they are not quite ready for scissors yet.  Have them place their chunks on the glued surface of the ellipse, offer colored pencils and/or chalk for Saturn, then slide it half way through the ellipse, add some glue or tape to keep it in place and there you have it.

The kids had lots of fun trying to make their planet look original by using different colored scraps and construction paper.  If you want to teach some more basics about Saturn and any other planets, here is a great kids site that I recently came across: 

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