We've only been on summer break for two weeks, but tomorrow we are logging our first day of school for the 2012/2013 school year. Why?
We just CANNOT pass up the opportunity to spend the day learning about the Transit of Venus. And if we're going to be studying and learning, we're going to count it as a school day. This will be only one of several days this summer where we will do this (log real school days because of learning opportunities). Oh, the beauty of homeschooling!
Our studies on the Transit of Venus will include:
Literature. We will read The Solar System by Howard K. Trammel and There's No Place Like Space! By Tish Rabe.
Videos. We will watch Bill Nye The Science Guy dvds "The Sun" and "Outer Space". (My kids look for any opportunity to watch his videos. Sometimes they check them out from the library 'just because'.)
Activities. We will focus on Venus and then do a drawing of it, including lots of rock, volcanoes, and craters, using a FREE Venus coloring page pdf found on this post.
Since Venus has more volcanoes than any other planet, we will do a quick volcano demonstration with baking soda and vinegar.
After discussing what the Transit of Venus means and looks like, we will make Transit of Venus cookies. This will be done by making large chocolate chip cookies, minus the chocolate chips. After they have baked for half the time, we will add chocolate chips in a pattern across the "sun" and baked them for the rest of the time. The "Venus" chips will cook flat on TOP of the cookie, instead of being hidden inside.
The cookies will be dessert used at our cookout and viewing party that we are hosting that evening for our friends. They have a telescope and since we weren't able to locate any solar lenses or #14 welding lenses to look directly at the sun, we will be making a "sun spotter" to view it indirectly. We could go to the Tulsa Air and Space Museum to view it with their telescopes, but that would cost our family $38 and it might be a total mad house. So, we'll just do it this way! I think everybody will get the point.
Will you try to view the Transit of Venus? If you don't catch it this time, you won't have another opportunity. It's not supposed to be available for viewing for us again until the year 2117.