Today the girls had a great little activity to show the formation of a protostar and it's development into a star.
I started the presentation with a discussion about how everything in the world (and space!) is made from atoms, then I showed 4 small balls of play doh and said they represented some atoms of hydrogen floating in space, gravity pulls these atoms together
the girls then made loads more 'hydrogen atoms' and I used gravity to again pull these atoms into my original creating a protostar. We discussed how a protostar is not a star as it produces no heat or light (great little language exercise - guess what the word protostar means - proto meaning first, earliest form of)
Next I talked about when it gets big enough the gravity and pressure causes some of the original hydrogen atoms to change into something else. I ripped the ball in half (much to their dismay) and pulled out my original 4 balls of playdoh and swapped them for a larger ball in a different colour and explained that this was now helium, when the helium atoms form a small bit of hydrogen gets left over and this left over bit is the fuel that the protostart burns to create light and heat thus turning it into a star. (we did go abit more in depth with terms like stellar nucleosynthesis and nebula but only the older ones picked up on it)
we looked at the life cycle of a star chart from Counting Coconuts and added our protostar step in. The girls then took it in turns to narrate and act out the presentation.
They finished by the younger girls playing star play doh, star pegging basket and star imprinting (again using the play doh) while the older girls did their write up and then used some great 3 part cards from Montessori Print Shop.