Sunday, August 31, 2014

Apologia Science - Astronomy

Earlier this year, we posted some pics from Olivia's early work in the Apologia Astronomy curriculum set. We continued throughout the summer and recently finished it. It really was an excellent study of each planet within our solar system as well as touching on broader subjects like stars, galaxies and comets. It even covered more peripheral topics like light, astronomical distances, space stations and space travel. 

The experiments were all very relevant and lots of fun. 
 When studying about the cloud-covered gas giant planets, we made a cloud in a jar.
 When we talked about the freezing points of various liquids (helium, methane, and water vs saltwater), she made ice cream.

 When we talked about space travel, we made an Alka-Seltzer Rocket. 
 And, yes, it really worked!

  She did research on each planet and wrote out some interesting facts. 
 She did a study on whether Pluto should be a planet or not. She argued (quite convincingly, to me) that it should be considered a planet and that they were wrong to change it in 2008 to a dwarf planet.
 We talked about constellations and looked up which ones were the most recognizable in our area. We then drove up towards Pilot Mountain, away from city lights and managed to spot quite a few of them. We even saw a shooting star!
 She then used the brightness gauge she had made to determine which star in the sky was the brightest. Vega and Altair were both among the brightest we could see.
 When we talked about space travel and distances, she did a rather math-intensive worksheet on how long it would take to visit each planet and then get home. Amazingly, the answer was 83 years!
As one of the last topics, she learned about the International Space Station and how they live on it and do experiments. We built our own model station to look at and play with.

Overall, this was one of the most interesting science topics she's done and one that she had a lot of fun with. The curriculum was very comprehensive and explained the rather difficult concepts in ways that made it easier for her to grasp. One thing that we did realize is that she's ready to move up to the regular notebooking journal rather than the Junior version.

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