Questions and new learning about the Moon

We continue to study the moon and have been keen to learn new information. However we realize that the more we learn, the more questions we seem to generate. Our wondering seems endless  – kind of like space!

This week we read Moon by Steve Tomecek and illustrated by Liisa Chancy Guida. This is a Jump into Science National Geographic book.

First, we filled out an anticipation guide Ms. Gelson had written based on the book. Did we think a list of statements were true or false. For example: 1. Earth is about four times bigger than the moon. 2. The air surrounding Earth helps protect us from falling meteors because it makes them burn up 3. The sun and the moon are about the same size.

Then we listened to the story to verify which statements were in fact true and which were false. (In case you aren’t sure – with the previous statements 1 and 2 are true and 3 is false 🙂 )

After this, we returned to our desks to work on sheets that summarized some of our learning. What new things were learned from this book? What questions still exist?

P1020522Jena talked about Galileo and his telescope. Students were fascinated that this was the first time people had a sense of what the moon actually looked like. She also noted that the moon is not a star like the sun is. Many people didn’t know the sun is a star.

Her questions centred on space travel. What were the names of the twelve astronauts that visited the moon? Did any animals go to the moon? And a very interesting thing to find out: Were any of the astronauts there when meteors came?



Jenny thought it was very interesting that the only way a crater can be filled up on the moon is when dust from a new crater forming (from a falling meteor) fills it up. Many students thought that this was pretty cool.

Jenny had questions about space generally

  • Why is the sun so warm?
  • Why can’t there be air in space?

She also wondered about how the footprints from visiting astronauts could remain on the moon forever. It is pretty hard to fathom a place with no wind and no rain.


P1020525Eddy had some great questions about the moon’s shape and how it formed in the first place.

Many students wondered if the Earth and the moon formed at the same time or different times and why we are so connected. Many thought it was strange to talk about ages of planets, moons and stars and wondered if they had birthdays!

Some other interesting questions students had:

  • If there is no gravity, wouldn’t the planets float away? (Annie)
  • When did the moon appear in space? (Kevin)
  • Is rock the only thing on the moon? (Ricky)
  • Why is the sun so hot when it looks so small? (Edwin)
  • What would happen if you started to dig on the moon? (Gary)
  • Will the moon have volcanoes again? (Manny)
  • Why is the moon grey? (Jenifer)

On a quick visit to the library this evening, I found this book: Really, Really BIG Questions about Space and Time by Mark Brake. Illustrated by Nishant Choski.

I plan to read it carefully this weekend to become a space expert! I will also bring it in for students to explore during independent reading. It addresses questions like:

  • When did the universe start?
  • Do stars live forever?
  • Why is the night sky so dark?
  • What’s the difference between me, a planet and a star?
  • Do black holes turn you into spaghetti?

What a beautiful world!

Spring! Finally! In Vancouver, spring sunshine is often chased away by rain showers so all the more reason to delve into books which help transport us into nature and wonder with just a flip of a page, a beautiful illustration or a perfect written image. We found three perfect books which do just this on our library visit Saturday.


I adore this book. All the World is a Caldecott Honour Book illustrated by Marla Frazee and written by Liz Garton Scanton. Simple rhyming text pays tribute to the small simple things our world has to offer like a tomato blossom or a fire to take away a chill. But it also celebrates through Frazee’s absolutely gorgeous illustrations, the majestic purply sky at the edge of the ocean or a thunderous downpour that comes out of nowhere. The images are comforting, saturated with details and evoke our own memories attached to the experiences suggested by each picture. These pictures are so easy to connect to, I felt like I had taken a journey through some of my own most happiest of memories. Climbing a tree in childhood. Visiting a farmer’s market and eating plump berries with my children. Racing through a rainstorm on a summer’s day in search of shelter.

Janeen Brian and Stephen Michael King, the author and illustrator of Where does Thursday go? have created a lovely little tale of wonder and whimsy. An important question is posed, if Friday is coming, where does Thursday go? What happens to it during the night?

Where Thursday

Bruno doesn’t want his wonderful birthday day to end. He wants to say goodbye to it. He finds his friend Bert and they traipse through a blue star filled night looking for Thursday to say goodbye. When the moon rises up big, round and bright like Bruno’s birthday balloons, the two friends feel like they have found Thursday. They creep back into bed until the sun brings Friday. Sweet, illustrations on blue filled pages. Lovely. I especially like the image of the two friends on the beach at the edge of the sea where ocean and sky meet in swirly blues and whites.

the_curious_gardenThis book appeals to the urgency I feel when spring flowers begin poking through the earth. Tend. Nurture. Clip back. Transplant. Compost. Appreciate. Wow, can I connect to the main character in this story who nurtures a struggling garden into a majestic green world.  Liam, the little boy in Peter Brown‘s The Curious Garden resides in a dreary city where everyone stays inside. Not Liam. On one of his rainy day walks he finds a few wildflowers and tiny plants on some abandoned railroad tracks. He cares for this garden over several seasons – appreciating its natural tendencies to spread and travel and helping it along a bit too (hooray for guerilla gardening). Years later he can appreciate an entire green city, tended by a multitude of gardeners.

Peter Brown includes an author’s note at the end of the story which explains his inspiration for the book.

Escape into Spring with a poking about walk to the library and discover all the places you can find signs of Spring.

Willoughby & the Moon

Greg Foley‘s Willoughby & the Moon takes us on many adventures – a trip to the moon with Willoughby and a giant snail, a space adventure on a moon buggy and a space pod and an amazing visual journey in deep black, white and silver – glowing pages full of shimmery snails, shadowy images of the craters on the moon and detailed moon maps that make us all the more curious . . .

Willoughby cannot sleep. In his dark, dark room, he assures his mother that he is not afraid of the dark – he is just wondering where the moon has gone. Later he spies a light under his closet door and discovers that inside his closet a giant snail is standing upon the moon. So begins an adventure with his new, tentative friend the snail who is in search of his lost ball. Willoughby helps in the search, as snail is afraid of many things. They search rocks, craters and mountaintops. Eventually, it is Willoughby who must face his own fear (psst it actually is the dark that scares him!) in order to help his friend. A wonderful moon experience with absolutely stunning images. We had to break out the silver crayons to illustrate our responses!

Some responses in need of  sharing:

Hailey: The snail was scared of heights, rocks and craters. The boy was scared of the dark cave.

Jenny: I liked the part when Willoughby did a brave thing for his friend.

Alyson: The boy should encourage the snail that everything is not so scary. The snail encouraged the boy to go in the dark.

Ricky: I’m curious about the moon. I want to go there and when I get back, I’m going to tell all about my adventure. But, I’m not old enough to go. I’ll just visualize it. I wish I could see how big the moon and craters are.

If you Decide to Go to the Moon

We have been reading If you Decide to Go to the Moon, written by Faith McNulty and illustrated by Steven Kellogg. It begins: If you decide to go to the moon in your own rocket ship, read this book before you start.


We are taken on a journey (on a rocket ship 🙂 ) to the moon and back and learn all kinds of cool things about travelling in space and important facts about the moon along the way.

We represented our learning with large space pictures including stars, rockets and the sun.


Facts and questions about the moon were included as fact craters or question craters and glued onto our pictures (inside the moons).

Some key facts we learned today?

  • there is no water on the moon
  • there is no sound on the moon because there is no air to carry sound waves
  • the moon is scorching from the sun’s heat or freezing when out of the sun’s heat
  • the moon has no light
  • the moon is covered in dust
  • craters on the moon are holes made by meteors that have landed on the moon throughout time

art 2

We also learned some pretty neat things about what it is like for astronauts to travel to the moon. Did you know it takes two and a half days to get there (by rocket)? Many people think it would be fun to try and walk on the moon where there is such little gravity. We found it fascinating that astronauts’ footprints stay on the moon forever because there is no wind or rain to wear them away. Most of all though, everyone wanted to look back to Earth from the moon and see what it would look like. Maybe some of us are future astronauts and will get that opportunity . . . .?

A fantastic book as an introduction to the moon and space travel.