Ready for Takeoff: My Experience with Project-Based Learning and the Solar System Part 2

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Recently I wrote a blog post sharing how I tackled my first experience with project-based learning outside of our science block.  My first PBL unit was anchored in the solar system.  You can read more about that [here].  You can also check out more info about PBL and why I use it [here].
Today I’d love to share how the PBL unit looked during our science block.
In case you missed my first post on this unit, our challenging question was this:
Everything we did was anchored in answering this open-ended question!  One thing I learned during a PBL networking event was that a good challenging questions is NOT Google-able and can lead to sustained inquiry.  Definitely keep those things in mind when creating your own PBL unit.
During our science block we started out our unit by talking about the moon (we kept the entire unit focus on things we can see in the sky).  We use [Crayola Model Magic] and plastic balls to create a model of the moon.
When we were learning about the moon the kids became super interested in what the moon was made out of and why it looks different in the sky on different nights.  I created a few QR codes the kids could scan that linked to a Google Doc with pictures and videos to satisfy their desire to learn about what the moon was made out of.
To explore the phases of the moon, I gathered materials for a classic and hands-on demonstration.
You can learn more about how to do this demonstration in my [Ready for Takeoff] unit!
When we learned about the sun we wanted to bring in a little more art.  The result?  Puffy paint suns! All you need is shaving cream, red/orange/yellow food coloring, tooth picks, wax paper, and cardstock!

Moving into other stars the kids become super interested in constellations.  We talked about the origins of constellations and even created our own using watercolor paint!

To wrap up our unit we revisited our challenging question (yet again) and answered it to a T!
I learned during this experience to plan the WHOLE PBL unit ahead, then sit back and enjoy the ride.     Due to time constraints at the end of the unit, we didn’t end up showcasing our public product to an audience (except for the children showing their parents at home).  
If you teach a solar system unit and you’re needing a few more non-fiction resources – check out my [Ready for Takeoff] unit!
I’m so excited to be in the middle of our second PBL unit of the year!  What’s this one about?!  You’ll have to find out when I post at the end of the year, but here’s a hint:  think zoo.

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