# Astronomy Unit Study: Unit Eleven – Uranus and Neptune

We fitting the unit on Uranus and Neptune into one week, but still managed to cram it full to the brim of fun, hands-on activities.

#### Uranus and Neptune: Partnership Reading

Usually I rad the lesson out loud to the girls, but some monster head aches this week rendered that impossible. I decided the girls should do some partnership reading. I do this a lot with Becca, who is not a confident reader yet, when she is reading her ACE fiction books. This time, I thought Abs and Becs could try it out together. Abigail is a very confident reader now, so I knew she would be able to handle the harder words. So they took it in turns, one paragraph at a time. First Abigail:

Then Becca:

And when Becca struggled or became weary, they would read the paragraph together. Science, reading practice and sibling bonding all at the same time!

#### Uranus and Neptune: Writing

There was only a small amount of writing to do this week, just a small paragraph about Uranus:

And one about Neptune:

The one about Neptune, I had Abigail compose whilst her sister was over at Granny’s house for reading practice. She then wrote it on the board for copywork practice for Becs. Here are their journal pages:

The girls also did some cutting and sticking, placing each planet’s attributes in the correct circle:

#### Uranus and Neptune – Showing how Uranus Rolls around the Sun

Here, the orange represented the sun. Becca used a large marble to represent Uranus and she rolled it (spinning on its axis) around the sun (rotating). Abigail used a second marble but she spun it as if she were taking the lid off a jar (spinning on its axis), and she moved it around the sun (rotating) in that manner.

This was a simple but clear way of demonstrating the difference between how Uranus moves around the sun compared with all the other planets.

#### Uranus and Neptune – Making these Planets’ Clouds

The girls grabbed two jars, put on the water to boil and filled two baggies with ice:

They poured boiling water into the jar and quickly placed the bag of ice on top:

Clouds began to form between the hot water and the cold ice:

We made a note page for the girls’ journals:

#### Uranus – Recreating the odour of Uranus’ Clouds

Having read that Uranus smells like rotten eggs, I decided we should do a revolting experiment of our own:

The girls took an egg and cracked it into a bowl:

Whisked it:

Poured the mixture into petri dishes:

The petri dishes did not have any lids, so we covered them with cling film and left them in the sun to putrefy:

Which they did, after about three days:

The girls were less than enamoured by the whole activity!

They smelt really, really bad!

As always, I made a journal page to record their learning:

#### Uranus and Neptune: Making an ice model

The girls first coloured in some pictures:

Dyed some water two shades of blue:

Poured them into a quiche dish and added a small rock to each centre:

Uranus is made of water, methane, and ammonia fluids above a small rocky centre. Its atmosphere is made of hydrogen and helium like Jupiter and Saturn, but it also has methane. The methane makes Uranus and Neptune blue. Here they are frozen:

And de-cased, on black paper for effect:

The girls added squirty cream for the cloudy atmospheres:

Neptune:

Abigail added the cream to Uranus:

And then laid the wool like a flattened circle to give the impression of a rolling Uranus:

She ran out of cream so Uranus’ atmosphere is not quite a thick as Neptune’s. The two models together:

This was a great week! The girls learnt lots and had heaps of fun in the process!

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