Thursday, February 4, 2010

Way Back When; The Story Of The Universe Part 1- Born With A Bang

We made a start with some history today. I love history and I really want to show the kids how the world has grown and changed and how events have shaped the world we live in today. Not forgetting all of the most amazing people that have walked before us.

We could just pick a place in time and go for it, but that just reminds me too much of how I experienced history in school. Even though I loved the subject I feel that it has so much more meaning when the story of history starts from the very beginning, so that is how we plan to tackle it.

We will be using the Story Of The World books as our spine. I won't be making history a huge saga though and if all we do is read the Story of the World and a few other intersting books to go along with it I will be happy. After all this is only our first cycle through of history and we have more than enough time to come back and revisit the past all over again.

We are not a religious family and the Story of the World is written from a young earth perspective (5000 years old). All of the scientific evidence thus far has proved that the earth is much older than that and although I don't have a firm belief as to how the earth was formed (I'm not sure that the Big Bang Theory sits totally comfortable with me either) I will be teaching history from a scientific perspective. Which means finding information written for children covering that viewpoint at a level that they can understand.

This was not easy task. In fact the few books I do have are far above the average 5 year olds level. B coped, just, with the books. I have since stumbled across a few others but have not seen them in real life so I'd have to order them to get any idea as to what they are like. Anyway, I'm rambling.

So we read aloud Born With A Bang, The Universe Tells Our Cosmic Story (Book One) by Jennifer Morgan.

The illustrations in this book are stunning. Just to give you an idea here's a little glimpse. The kids always like to do something whilst we read, generally drawing of some description. I set them up with watercolours and suggested to B that he paint something that represented the story as I wanted it to go along with his narration that I would later print.

For K I had no requests, I was just happy that she was happy to sit there and listen. Even if she only took in a small amount of the book as I knew it would go way over her head.

It has been over 12 months since B has done any type of narration work so I had to remind him what it was and what I expected. I knew we would be virtually starting from the beginning all over again. Narration in the early days is hard work, both for the child and the teacher....really it's like pulling teeth but I have read enough to know that in the end it pays off so hence we are moving forward with it.

The book is quite long so I suggested to B that I would stop at the end of every page or so (depending on the level of detail covered) for him to narrate something. As I was reading aloud and scribing his narrations I really wasn't taking much notice of the painting that was happening before me. B had basically painted (very simply due to trying to keep up with the story) every pertinent point in the story.

I have compiled the images below along with his narration. It took alot of prompting and question asking on my part, but in the end he finished with a nice overview of the book.

It was about 13 billion years ago when the universe was formed. The universe was a tiny little speck (painting 1)

The universe then burst into a grape fruit sized ball. (painting 2)

The universe exploded into the size of a galaxy. It then made particles.

With the particles the universe could make light.

The particles made the first atoms. The atoms were hydrogen. (painting 3)

The universe was making galaxies. Black Holes were appearing inside the galaxies. (painting 4)

The Mother Star made new elements, like calcium.

The Mother Star ripped herself apart in an explosion. (painting 5)

Our sun appeared and the planets. The Earth was a big ball of stardust. (painting 6)

After I had compiled B's narration, K quickly piped up and said that she wanted to make a book from hers. Here I was thinking she had been painting lollipops and was totally oblivious to what had been going on but no, she too had a page by page account.

We sat down together to go through what she had painted and I nearly fell off my chair, not by the paintings, but by what she could remember. I only had to prompt her once or twice. Following is K's recount of the book.

The universe bursted.

Then the universe exploded.

It made tiny particles.

The universe made the very first atoms.

The universe made heaps of Mother Stars. ( I was requested to go back and add 'heaps of')

Milky Way and Black Holes.

The mummy star exploded into a supernova.

The burning red ball was earth.

Our first history lesson of the year.....I'm one very happy and very proud mummy. The things you get when you least expect it.


Kez said...

Wow, great job kids!

When they're a bit older, check out the book "George's Secret Key to the Universe" by Stephen & Lucy Hawkin as a read-aloud. It's a big book - fictional story set around scientific principles of the cosmos. My 7yo loved it!

Kylie said...

Thanks Kez, I'll have a look for it, I am sure B would enjoy it now. :)

Caz said...

Oh awesome job with the art narrations! I've actually eyeballed that series of books before and thought they looked neat. Will be adding to my wishlist on bookdepository I think.

Another good one that starts in prehistory is the Usborne Internet Linked enecyclopedia of world History. LOTS of very engaging pictures with blurbs scattered thru. My boys drag it out constantly.. even when we aren't 'doing' history ;)

Kylie said...

Hey thanks Cari, we do have that book. I really would love more picture books as opposed to encylopedias...I just don't think they are out there though.

Anonymous said...

What a cool idea! I have written down the title of the book, and we will probably use it for our astronomy studies (starting this year). Thank you so much for sharing.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

It's so neat to see someone doing Big Bang and not Creation. Refreshing, should I say :) The illustrations and the narrative is awesome. We are not doing history this year - I am looking forward to learning more together when Anna is older.

Kylie said...

Yes finding others studying the topic isn't the easist of tasks.

Wendy there is 3 Books in the series, we will cover the other 2 over the coming weeks. Visit Dawn Publications, although you may be like me and unable to order from them.

Amanda said...

Oh my oh my! You just posted the book that I have been looking for. Ansley has been wanting to read "how the universe began with a big bam" This book is perfect....I am off to order it now...totally jumping for jpy right now LOL!

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