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Science & Nature

A Child Astronomer's Christmas!

A fun, holiday-themed astronomy program that teaches kids about stars, comets, and meteors while also looking for Santa!
Paul H. The Shakespearean Student
49 total reviews for this teacher
3 reviews for this class
Completed by 15 learners
year old learners
US Grade Level
learners per class


Charged upfront
Meets once
60 minute class

Available times

Table of available sections


Class Experience

This class is taught in English.
Students will learn about how Christmas is tied to astronomy, specifically the way the Star of Bethlehem led the shepherds and wise men to the Christ Child, and how modern astronomers look through telescopes to learn about the heavens. I will explain what a comet, meteor, asteroid, and supernova are through videos and simple science experiments. We will briefly discuss our solar system with its planets, asteroid belt, and nearby stars to give the kids an understanding of our place in the cosmos. I will also teach the kids a little backyard astronomy, showing them the common constellations they can observe in the night sky where they live. Finally, the handout I give the kids to download will have the vocabulary on it in the form of a word search, as well as a list of astronomy-related books, and some fun games.

Vocabulary Terms Covered in the class:
Albert Einstein
Speed of Light
Speed of Sound
Light Year

For the homemade snow experiment, students only need 1/4 cup of baking soda, and about 4 tablespoons of white conditioner.
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
1 hour per week in class, and maybe some time outside of class.
With the sensitive topic of Santa Claus, I have taken care not to infringe on anyone's beliefs. Santa will not directly appear on screen so as to not infringe on anyone's concept of what he looks like. He will appear in silhouette on video, and I will show a screenshot of his beard and hand when I attempt to call him over Zoom and by phone, but all the children will see is a beard and a gloved hand. The main engagement the kids will have will be a personalized letter that they will receive from Santa at the end of the class that they can print out.
If the children ask tough questions about Santa, I will reply mainly in the theoretical, rather than the concrete. One reason I'm in character as a scientist is because it allows me to speak about Santa in terms of, "This is my theory about how Santa does this or that," so everyone can make up their own minds as to how Santa operates, while still engendering scientific curiosity. This is ultimately the goal of the class, to get kids to be curious about science in an entertaining way.

Although I was inspired by NORAD's Santa tracker and Comet Tracker to create the class, we will not be using them in the class. I will merely play a Youtube video of the Santa tracker. The students are encouraged to participate in an experiment from a free science website called "Gismos," which will allow them to simulate the movement of the sun and the Earth. If the parents don't wish to use the website, I'll use a screen share to show the experiment. 
I have partially based the material in the class on the following:
1. NORAD's Santa Tracker: https://www.noradsanta.org/

2. Nasa's Asteroid and Comet Watch: https://www.nasa.gov/asteroid-and-comet-watch 

3. Nasa Space Place For Kids: https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/menu/comets/

4. Popsci.com: "How Long Would It Take To Deliver Santa Presents To Every Kid On Earth?" https://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-12/fyi-how-long-would-it-take-santa-deliver-presents-every-kid-earth/

5. Borax Christmas Ornament Experiment: https://afewshortcuts.com/how-to-grow-borax-crystals-kids-science-project/


Paul H. The Shakespearean Student
Lives in the United States
Teacher, lecturer, actor, astronomer, and technology specialist
49 total reviews
92 completed classes

About Me

I specialize in Shakespeare and Astronomy, having worked in theater for over 10 years, and for two years as a professional astronomy assistant. I teach courses in Shakespeare Appreciation and Shakespearean acting, as well as basic astronomy for... 
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