N.C.'s Interview about the Solar System

N.C. came to school with a big giant paper that had a solar system drawn on it.  She wanted us to put it near the light table.

Ms. Babalis: Talk to me about your work.  

N.C.: I wanted to bring it to school, because we worked so hard to do it.  Me and my mom made the solar system together.  I had a solar system book at home from the library and it gave me the idea.  I wonder why the planets are up in the solar system in the sky.

Ms. Babalis: Which planet are you most interested in?  Why?

N.C.: I am most interested in Mars, because it is hot.  I wonder why mars is called the red planet.

Ms. Babalis: What do you know about the solar system?

N.C.: I know that we can make wishes from the shooting stars.  I know the Mercury is the closest planet to the sun.  

Ms. Babalis, did you know that sometimes C.R.'s mom lets him go outside during the night to see shooting stars?  My mom will only let me do that at Spring or Summer time.  

I want to know how space and astronauts visit the farthest planet.

Pluto is the farthest planet.  It is so cold.  I wonder why Pluto is only a half planet.

I wonder why the sun is so hot.

I wonder why Earth is the best planet.

After N.C.'s interview, we visited Google and found some images of the solar system.

Here are the images that Navya was most interested in:

N.C.: I wonder why the planets are around the sun.

Ms. Babalis: What do you think?

N.C.: Because they are supposed to be like that.  That is how the solar system is supposed to look like.  My mom told me.

Ms. Babalis: What do you see coming out of the sun?

N.C.: I see fire, because it is so hot.  The sun has hot fire because it is so hot.  If we don’t have a sun it will be dark outside.

N.C.: I wonder why the planets are around the sun again.  I wonder why the planets are different kinds of shapes.  I wonder why the planet Pluto is not on the solar system anymore.  I don’t know where it is.

The middle is the sun.  The brown one is Mercury.  The orange one is Mars.  The blue one is Earth.  The red one is Venus.  The larger brown one is Jupiter.  The one with the ring around it is Saturn.  The light blue one is Uranus.  The dark blue one at the last ring is Neptune.

Ms. Babalis: Wow! N.C., my goodness you know a lot about the solar system!  Do you think that you could teach our class about the planets?

N.C.: No, because there are lots of people in our class.

Ms. Babalis: Can you teach a few of your friends about the planets in a small group?

N.C.: Yes.  I can teach E.Y., J.L., M.G., A.A., R.A., F.F., S.N., and A.S..

Ms. Babalis: Why might the solar system in this image have seven rings (or seven circles)?

N.C.: Because there are seven planets.

Together we counted the planets and notice that there are nine in the picture.

N.C.: I wonder why there is twenty-five Earths in the picture.

N.C. states the number twenty-five without even going near the computer where we are looking at the image.  She does not use her finger to count.

Ms. Babalis: How did you know that there were twenty-five spheres or Earths?

N.C.: Because I thinked!  My mom teaches me math.  I even know what ten plus ten is.  Twenty!

Ms. Babalis: What else do you know about mathematics?

N.C.: I don’t know!

Ms. Babalis: Why do you suppose someone would take a picture with so many Earths?

N.C.: Because they saw all the kinds of Earth.  Some are different colours and one is the normal colour.

Ms. Babalis: What does that make you wonder?

N.C.: I wonder why there are so many different colours of Earth. 

Ms. Babalis: Why is one Earth blue and one Earth brown?

N.C.: Because they saw one blue and one brown.  I don’t know! 

I wonder why they are all different kinds of colours.

I wonder why some of them are big sizes, some of them are medium, and some of them are small.

As an educator, I tried to be responsive to N.C.'s interest in the planets.  We are beginning to connect this interest with our inquiry on the night sky.  Finally, we are working hard to ensure that we follow her wonders rather than get lost in the theme of the solar system.  By digging deeper into what she said (referring to the pedagogical documentation that we gather), we can begin to understand what she is really curious about.

Share your thoughts :

  1. Thanks for digging deep into her thoughts. It is nice to know about her wonders!

  2. I think that it is a very awesome of you to be able to connect one-on-one with a student like that. Did you involve other students in this inquiry? While I was on placement last year in an ELK classroom, I found it challenging to give one-on-one support with the students because of how many there are and and many of them want your attention. What strategies do you have when there are so many students that want to show you and ask you things?

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