Connecting YouthQuest and Home: Outer Space

What is it like to travel in space? What do the stars look like in the January sky? These are some of the questions YouthQuest students will consider with this month’s theme: Outer Space.

“We are kicking off the year by studying outer space,” says Rhetta Hunyady, Vice President of Education & Training at the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “Astronomy is part of the science curriculum for elementary schools and, more importantly, students love to learn about space!”

What will students be learning in January?

  • Students will learn about the characteristics of the planets in our solar system. Grades K-2 will create colorful planets using balloons and paint, and grades 3-5 will construct a scale model of the Earth-Moon system.
  • Grades 3-6 will learn how the planets are positioned in the universe using various kinds of fruit—which they can eat following the lesson!
  • Younger students will explore what it might be like to live on the moon by learning the song I Don’t Wanna Live on the Moon.

Want to help extend your student’s learning beyond YouthQuest? Parents can try some of the following activities to keep students engaged at home:

  • Encourage your child’s questions: When a student asks something along the lines of, “Why is the moon following us?”, it shows they are thinking about how the world works. Respond in ways that encourage scientific thinking. If you don’t know the answer, start a discussion. Encourage your child to share their perspective and observations by asking “What do you think?”
  • Move through space together. At YouthQuest, students will imagine what it’s like to be in outer space by pretending to float through space. At home, create a moon landscape by placing pillows and sheets on the floor and attaching sponges to the bottom of your child’s feet. Play eerie music as your young astronaut pretends to walk across the moon.
  • Go to the planetarium: To reinforce the Outer Space theme, take advantage of Flint’s own Longway Planetarium, which offers a variety of programs for each age level and interest.

YouthQuest’s middle and high school programs are working on STEM experiments. Middle school students are working in groups to complete science projects. High school students are working on building miniature trampolines and use the scientific method to test Newton’s Laws of Physics.

Parents can help continue their students’ learning by asking students to be observant at home and write a brief summary about what they see. For example, when cooking in the kitchen, ask them to consider what kinds of chemical reactions are happening and why?

YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

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