Teaching children about space is not just about encouraging their minds to explore the galaxy and the universe. More importantly, Earth and Space Science can help awaken a child’s appreciation of Earth’s place in space as well as their interest in doing their part for a sustainable planet.
Earth and Space Science is like fuel for a child’s curiosity. The discipline is more like exploring the unknown and gaining an understanding of the different phenomena across the globe. Discussing the key concepts involved in this subject can be quite challenging but the use of various teaching materials such as visual aids and models can help make the entire learning process more fun, engaging, and prolific.
Before starting the lesson with your child, it is best to take him/her outside in the day and at night to observe the sky. Make sure that you warn your child not to look directly at the sun. Let him/her marvel at the sky for about 10 to 15 minutes for the child to come up with questions which will serve as your springboard for a later discussion. You can also check out Kid’s Academy’s article Earth and Space Science for Kids in Grade 1 to check on other key lessons of the subject.
The Space: Day and Night
In most cases, the concept of day and night is better explained with the Earth’s rotation on its axis. But in this case, the center of discussion will revolve around space and why everything is bright blue and white in the day while it is dark and sparkly at night.
Earth’s atmosphere and space are two entirely different regions. Space is an area that exists from 100 kilometers above Earth’s surface and beyond. Inside the Earth’s atmosphere is air – a vast packet of gas mixture that envelopes the entire Earth’s surface. Air is primarily composed of Nitrogen and Oxygen which are essential for human beings and all other life on Earth to survive. Beyond the 100km threshold is space which is devoid of air.
Without air, soundwaves are not able to travel in space which is why it is eerily quiet out there. Furthermore, air is also needed to scatter light. This explains why we get to see a bright bluish white sky in the day. In outer space, light energy emitted from the sun travels directly in a straight line. In other words, apart from the direction towards the sun, everything is dark in space. To check on your child’s overall understanding about the sky, Observing the Sky Worksheet can be the perfect assessment tool for the task. You can also keep him/her motivated through this fun Space Maze: Comet Worksheet as he/she works his way towards getting acquainted with these amazing snowballs in space.
The Space Suit
Space has a very harsh environment. Extreme temperatures both hot and cold make space a very dangerous place to be in. General cosmic temperature is at 2.7 Kelvin or -270.45 degrees Celsius. And for that reason a space suit was developed.The space suit is a special type of protective equipment exclusively used by astronauts. It is a multi-layered suit designed to protect the astronaut from the extremes of the space environment.
The backpack is the most important part of the space suit. It has a complex life support system attached to it. Since space is devoid of air, the life support system supplies the oxygen throughout the suit while removing the carbon dioxide everytime the astronaut exhales. It also provides water to drink and is geared with a regulator to maintain the right pressure. The suit also has its own heating and cooling systems to keep the astronauts inside it comfortable. Lastly, the suit is also designed to protect the astronauts from harmful radiations and impact injuries by space dust. In today’s money, a standard space suit can cost around $500M.
As discussed earlier, the space suit is a very complex piece of equipment. This Space Suit Printable is a fun way to help your child master his/her sorting skills while learning to appreciate and respect the dangerous environment of outer space.
Rotation and Revolution: Earth’s Day and Year
Earth’s movements have a direct relation on how we calculate our days and years. Basically, there are two types of movements that the Earth makes. First is the so-called rotation or the planet’s movement around its axis. The axis is the imaginary line that runs through the center of the Earth from North to South. One full Earth rotation takes up to 24 hours which is equivalent to one full day.
On the other hand, revolution is the movement of Earth around the Sun along its orbit. The orbit is the invisible yet repeating path of Earth around the Sun. All the other planets in the Solar System also have their own paths or orbit around the Sun. Earth’s one full trip around the Sun can take around 365 and ¼ days which is equivalent to one full year. You can introduce these worksheets Our Solar System: Earth’s Rotation and Our Solar System: Revolution to help your child gain a firm understanding on the difference of the two planetary movements.