I’ve always loved looking at the stars, and my youngest son does too. When he was about 10 he saved up money to purchase his own (beginner) telescope, and he loves field trips to the planetarium. He even has an app on his phone that helps him identify the stars in the sky. So, I figured he would really enjoy the Book of Astronomy Set from Memoria Press, and I thought it would make for a fun science study for us.
While this program is aimed at grades 3-5, my son is actually in middle school, and I feel it suited him just fine. The information is pretty in-depth, and the memorization component definitely requires some skill. Plus, you can flesh it out even more if you can get your hands on a copy of D’Aulaires Greek Myths and you could certainly add in a research component for older students if you wanted to.
The book opens with a copy of the poem The Pleiades by Amy Lowell, which students work on memorizing throughout the program. It also offers some basic guidelines for how to teach the program, but doesn’t go so far as to give you a daily schedule. For me, this is nice, because I kind of like to set things up on my own, and I tend to tweak schedules anyway. The schedules suggests daily recitation and review that asks for an overhead projector. Of course, I don’t use an overhead projector, so we skipped that part, but it really wasn’t a big deal since it was just my son and I working through this together.
Throughout the course of Astronomy, students will memorize the 15 brightest stars, the planets, and the 12 Zodiac constellations, which is a lot of information. The student book is divided into four units and also includes an appendix with definitions, facts about the planets, a pronunciation guide and more. The Teacher’s Guide includes all the pages in the student guide, but with the answers.
The first thing you study is an explanation of some basic astronomy, touching on what the constellations are, how the Earth moves, how stars got their names, and a discussion about star magnitudes. Then you get an intro to the 15 brightest stars before moving on to study individual constellations. Kids start practicing their memorization right away, recording the names of the stars in a chart that will repeat throughout the book.
I really like the way the lessons are set up. First of all, they are relatively short, so it’s easy to complete a couple at a time in about 20 minutes. There is not too much reading in the workbook, so it was pretty easy for my reluctant reader son to complete on his own. I also thought it was really cool how they have students trace the stars and label the brightest stars in each constellation. Even for me, I could see how this would be helpful in actually identifying the same constellations in the sky (something I can honestly admit, I have a hard time doing with my naked eye). As students complete the lesson, they learn both the Roman and English names for the constellation and they continually fill in their star chart.
After a few lessons, students review what they have learned and the end of each unit also has a larger review. These were good practice and allowed my son to cement what he had learned before moving on. We are getting into unit two right now, and I look forward to continuing this over the summer. It’s easy to do, but a lot of fun, and spending summer nights checking out the stars is a great way to hang out! To learn more about this program, connect with Memoria Press on social media here:
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To see what other members of the crew had to say about this program, and the other products we got to check out, click here: