If you’re following along in the Mrs. Thistle’s Almanac planner your theme this week is winter stars. Here in Florida we’re getting rain, and lots of it, so it is unlikely that we will actually get to complete the outdoor activities this week. Even if it isn’t rainy where you are, the full moon might make it hard to see some of the fainter stars. Don’t worry if you find yourself lacking a beautifully clear, dark winter sky this week. I’ve included a few indoor activities to get you through. You can find a pdf download of the complete 12 page lesson including activities, a recipe and printable resources such as the star clock and planisphere HERE.
Here’s a sample of this week’s lesson:
Week of Jan 1-5
As we begin the first week of the New Year we must remember that Christmas is not a single day but a festival meant to last twelve days and thirteen Holy nights. There’s still a full week of celebrating left! More specifically, Christmas can be thought of as a “night festival” since the celebrations begin as the sun sets on Christmas eve and arrives in the darkness of winter on the heels of the winter solstice. It is fitting then that it should end with a light. The feast of Epiphany closes out the Christmas celebration by remembering the three kings who followed a star to find the Christ child. We too will follow the stars this week in our own backyard.
Why study the stars?
There seems to be little practical application for the modern amateur stargazer. Why should we spend time outside, in the cold, struggling to see a few far off specs of dust? What is to be gained from stargazing in our backyard? Much of the technology we use everyday – and often take for granted – was born out of someone’s curiosity to see our universe a little better. CAT scans, MRIs, tracking for our Amazon packages, Google Maps, that amazing camera on your new iPhone – all born out of a desire to explore the universe a little closer. Who could’ve imagined that taking the time to look at the stars and understand them more would’ve led to all those things?
But, perhaps the most important reason to study the stars is not found in the technological advances we cherish so much. We should study the night sky, not because it might improve our iPhones in the years to come, but because it connects us to something bigger than ourselves. A study of astronomy allows us to glimpse the wonders of the universe and, in the words of Carl Sagan, “is a humbling and character-building experience.”
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8: 3-4)
Did you know?
The stars at the North Pole can sometimes be seen 24 hours a day!
Questions to ask
Are the stars spinning or is it just me?
Why can the stars be seen for 24 hours at the north pole in winter?
Discover how the spinning Earth changes the way we see the stars
While I’m still compiling the Almanac and the planner is in beta-testing these lessons will be made available for download for free here on the blog. I’d love to hear your feedback and see how you are using it in your home. You can use the hashtag #mrsthistlesalmanac to share your experiences with the material. I won’t be posting every week’s themed lessons here on the blog because, of course, that content is going in the Almanac I’m working on and I actually have to school these kiddos and rock the baby and feed the mister. But I’ll try my best to post the lessons I do plan to share before mid-week of the week they are supposed to be used to give you more time to prepare. Beginning the week with a holiday threw me off course this time. Hopefully, I can post in a timely fashion.
At some point in the future, the content for each week’s theme will only be accessible via access code that will be included for free with the purchase of the planner. That’s the plan anyway. But for now, it’s F.R.E.E. free.
If you haven’t picked up your planner yet there’s still a lot of year left. Head on over to the etsy shop and get your download. Or if you’d like me to print and bind it for you, please message me and we can chat about the details.