By Lower and Intermediate School Library and Information Services Specialist Mary Catherine Coleman
Senior Kindergarten students are engaging in a research study of the solar system. The project started with the reading of a fiction book, Chicken in Space, and a nonfiction book, Me and My Place in Space. The “Chicken in Space” uses her imagination to “travel to space” and explore. Me and My Place in Space explores the solar system and the order of planets in relation to the sun. Students talked about the difference between nonfiction and fiction and shared questions about the solar system, including: “What is the sun made of?”, “What are asteroids and meteors?” and “How far are the planets from each other?”.
Next, students in small groups visited different stations around the Kovler Family Library to discover more about the solar system. One group used the library’s PebbleGo online database to learn more about the sun, another group explored the online resource to learn more about meteors and asteroids. Students listened to the articles and collected interesting facts that they learned.
Another group worked with Google Cardboard and Google Expedition, a virtual reality application, to immerse themselves in the solar system. Kindergarteners better understoos the position of the planets in relation to the sun and how they rotate around it, as well as their distance from other planets.
The final group used the Merge Cube, an augmented reality device. The cube acts as a surface for the video and visuals to pop out. SKers used iPads to view the Merge cube to see the solar system pop out into view. Students were able to rotate the cube to see different perspectives of the solar system from different angles and tap on each planet and the sun to see it up close and learn more facts and information.
Each group had a chance to rotate to all of the stations. For the final part of the project, students will draw and build the solar system in small groups and sketch the path that a rocketship would follow to see all the planets. Kindergarteners will code the library’s Ozobot robots to explore their maps of the solar system.