Activities & Lesson Plans - Kindergarten Newsletter 11/20/09

Grade: K

Kindergarten | November 20, 2009  

In This Issue: Space Gets Busy; Being Thankful; Big-Screen Book

Shuttle to the Space Station
After a two-day commute, six U.S. astronauts arrived at the International Space Station (ISS)  bearing gifts: 20,000 pounds of spare parts and other goodies, including Amelia Earhart's scarf and a stuffed blue toy spider. During the Atlantis crew's 11-day mission, there will be three spacewalks—and numerous tweets. In a message on Wednesday, one ISSer tweeted: "Atlantis arriving today... Always amazing sight out window. Will be good to see our friends!"

Share with your child: Astronauts carry high school football jerseys, plush mascots and other items on the shuttle to honor their alma mater, hometown or meaningful people, places or things. 

  • THINK: Imagine that you are an astronaut traveling to space. What important items would you want to bring with you? Explain the significance of each.
  • Visit the mission timeline. Pick a few tasks and write each one on separate pieces of paper. Then help your child put them into the right sequence.
  •  Mark the shuttle's launch date, 11/16, on a calendar. Tell your child the mission will last 11 days. Help him or her count down to the shuttle's return.
  • Watch Atlantis launch.
  • See mission updates, video and more at NASA.
Meanwhile, on Mars:
Spirit Rover caught in a sand trap: How on earth will scientists at NASA headquarters make it move? After about six months of being stuck, efforts to help Spirit escape began slowly on November 17. The little-rover-that-could stopped less than 1 second into its first attempt. NASA says that it could take weeks or even months to free Spirit, and even that is uncertain. Still, being stuck didn't crush its spirit—the rover continued to send valuable data back to scientists.
  • See artists' drawings of the Mars rovers and the Mars landscape. Explain that the rovers are there to help scientists learn more about Mars. ASK: What tools might the rovers need to send information back to Earth? 
  • Follow the engineers' efforts to drive Spirit to safety and receive tweets from Mars (kind of).
  • Play on Mars, at the NASA kids' page.
And on the Moon:
Spacecraft that crashed into a crater on its surface revealed evidence that there is water on the moon. The October lunar crash landing kicked up 25 gallons of water—in the forms of ice and vapor. The discovery had some experts and dreamers talking about moon exploration; with a supply of drinking water, astronauts could set up a base camp.
  • Learn more about the mission.
  • ASK: Is the moon or Mars closer to the Earth? How many moons does Mars have?  

Give Thanks
Get your kids thinking about ways to give thanks by giving to others. Encourage them to research organizations in your area that help feed the hungry. Share this statistic: A federal study indicates that more than 49 million Americans are at risk of hunger. That includes nearly 17 million children.
  • ASK: What are some ways that we can help others throughout the year? 
  • ASK: What are you most thankful for? Have your child draw a picture that includes his or her favorite things.
  • ASK: Who are you thankful for? Help your child write a note to a teacher, friend or family member to tell that person why he or she means so much. 
Talk Turkey
Tis the season to involve your child in the planning and preparing
  • Making pie? Have your child draw two circles on a piece of paper; the pumpkin pie will have four slices and chocolate cream will have six slices. ASK: How many total pieces of pie are there? If we eat three pieces of the chocolate pie and all of the pumpkin pie, how many slices will be left?
  • Have your child identify the different shapes in the pie drawings. ASK: How many different shapes do you see and what are they? How many triangles? How many circles?
  • PLAY Big Bird's Shapes.
  • Get a behind-the-balloons look at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

A Fox Tale
When kids first met Mr. Fox, he was the main character of a children's book by Roald Dahl, Fantastic Mr. Fox. Kids and parents thought Mr. F and friends were so fantastic that the book became a bestseller—and now, an animated movie. 
  • If your child hasn't read the book, suggest that you read it together. ASK: Do you think this would make a good movie? Why or why not? Which parts of the story would you most like to see onscreen?
  • Watch the trailer.

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