We started (as we often do) with some coloring during readaloud. Today it was Little Fox in the Snow by Jonathan London, illustrated by Daniel Miyares. This is a neat, poetic book that does “day in the life of an animal” better than any I’ve read. In particular, the fox is both predator and prey. The kids colored in foxes done in different styles, and we talked about which styles we liked.

I used one illustration in the book (the fox imagining fox constellations in the stars) to launch a discussion of constellations. The kids each got half of a dark sheet of construction paper, and a white or silver colored pencil or a metallic marker. They were asked to make some dots (the stars) and then draw a constellation. They did a lovely job of it, and wound up seeing all sorts of surprising things, including a truck, a flower, an elephant! A few got names, and even stories of how they ascended into the skies.

When the creativity ebbed a bit, I brought out the Star Wheels. We didn’t go very deep into how they work or anything, just spun them around and talked about some of the constellations, the North Star, and how the night sky changes over time.

Finally, we walked outside to give a brief introduction to the cardinal directions. I opened my phone’s compass, put it on the ground, and showed them that no matter how I spun it, it pointed the same directions. We identified north, then the others. Finally I shouted random directions and the whole group had to turn to face them.

Nature Study: Foxes & Stars