18Jun2017

Teaching Kids About Stars

When teaching children about stars, make your lessons  interactive as possible. Astronomy book courses aren’t enough to do the job.

Its because stars can be rather abstract for kids to understand. Stars of course are so far away and cannot be touched or explored close up. You’ll need to use an extra dose of creativity while explaining various concepts. Try these simple lessons and projects as you explain what stars are, how stars work and how stars affect our daily lives.

Start With The Sun
Begin your lessons on stars by explaining our solar system and the function of the sun. Try playing the song “Why Does the Sun Shine? (The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas)” by They Might Be Giants to explain what the sun-and other stars-are made of and how far away they are. Make a solar system mobile, or show your children a picture of the solar system, and teach them about the temperature differences on the planets and their relative distances from the sun.

Expand To Basic Star Facts
Once your kids understand our own sun and its importance to us Earthlings, explain that there are all kinds of stars. You’ll want to explain that suns have lives much like we have lives. For some cool star pictures, follow this link to these Hubble Space Telescope photos.

Some basic star facts to explore are the following:

Star Births: Stars take between 10,000 and 1,000,000 years to be “born” or fully created. They are created through a collapsing process that takes place inside a cold interstellar cloud. You can find pictures of Orion Nebula or Eagle Nebula if you look up images of these famous baby star nurseries online. These clouds collapse due to an intense gravitational pull, resulting in a star much like our own sun and possible planets and moons rotating around the central star.

Star Lives: Stars can shine for millions or billions of years. Stars spend their lives fusing hydrogen to helium, which causes a nuclear reaction, creating energy that shines from the star. When stars have used up all their hydrogen, they change and become red giants. You can find pictures of famous red giant stars if you research images of Betelgeuse, Arcturus, Aldebaran and Antares.

Star Deaths: When the thermal pressure of the star no longer can compete with the compressing gravity of the universe, the star dies. Stars either become white dwarfs or they explode as supernovas, and then they become black holes. Most kids are fascinated by the process of a star death, so you’ll want to look up information about how black holes work, what a super nova is and what a white dwarf is. You can find photos of white dwarfs if you look up images of Eskimo Nebula or Cat’s Eye Nebula. For photos of super novas, look up images of Crab Nebula or Veil Nebula.

Significance Of Stars Throughout History
Explain to your kids that stars were used as navigational guides throughout history. Take them to a planetarium for a constellation show, bring them outside at night to show them the constellations available in your night sky or buy them constellation maps. org. Life 123

 

Fun Astronomy Facts for Kids

Check out these fun astronomy facts for kids when you’re looking for a science project. Kids naturally love learning about outer space, so amateur astronomy is the perfect hobby for any curious child. Your kids can also build up their online research skills as they learn more about astronomy. If you wish to teach your kids about bibliographies when doing research, have them jot down their sources as they answer the questions.

Start out by telling your kids a few teaser facts to get them interested in outer space before you set them loose with the computer searching for more answers. Let them know the sun is 90 million miles away and that 1 million earths could fit inside the sun. Tantalize them with thoughts of frying an egg on Mercury and freezing popsicles on Pluto.

Now give your children the challenge of finding the answers to the following astronomy questions:

What is the average temperature of the planets and the sun?
Answers:
The Sun: 9944 degrees Fahrenheit
Mercury: 333 degrees Fahrenheit
Venus: 867 degrees Fahrenheit
Mars: -85 degrees Fahrenheit
Jupiter: -166 degrees Fahrenheit
Saturn: -220 degrees Fahrenheit
Uranus: -319 degrees Fahrenheit
Neptune: -328 degrees Fahrenheit
Pluto: -373 degrees Fahrenheit

Which planets have gaseous atmospheres?
Answer: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune

Why do the ocean tides change? Hint: It has to do with the moon.
Answer: The moon’s gravity attracts the water, which leads to the tides as the moon orbits around Earth.

How long does it take for astronauts to travel to the moon?
Answer: About three days.

How many miles is it from the sun to Pluto when Pluto is closest to the sun?
Answer: 2.75 billion miles

Why is Pluto no longer officially considered a planet?
Answer: After Pluto was discovered in 1930, astronomers continued to learn more about the planet, and they decided that Pluto was too small to qualify as a planet in our solar system. Even though it has its own moons and orbits around the sun, there are other objects as big as or bigger than Pluto nearby, so the International Astronomical Unit decided to change Pluto’s status.

What is a black hole?
Answer: A black hole resulting from a star’s collapse. This hole has so much gravity that it draws everything around it, including stars and planets, into its center, and nothing can escape.

How is a star born? What is a star made up of?
Answer: Stars are made up of gas and dust, and stars come together when an event in the universe creates a center of gravity that draws up all the matter into a star.

Why do stars die out? What happens when a star dies?
Answer: Since stars are made up of gas, it should be no surprise that a star nears the end of its life when it uses up all of its hydrogen, which is a gas. The star gets hotter and hotter until it turns into a white dwarf or explodes into a supernova, depending on the original size of the star.

What is the North Star as seen in the USA? Why was it significant to travellers in the past?
Answer: The North Star is also known as the “pole star” or Polaris. The star is the last one in the handle of the Little Dipper. This is important because it indicates true north, and you are going north if you head toward the North Star.

Can you see the same constellations all year round? Why or why not?
No. Since the Earth revolves on its axis and revolves around the sun, the constellations are always changing. The constellations are still there, but you can’t see them during the daytime. However, on a clear night, you will always be able to see the North Star, which is part of the Little Dipper, because the earth’s axis aims in that direction. Life 1123

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