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UP IN THE SKY

March is a transition month from wintertime to spring, and the weather is often unpredictable. From cold temperatures, gusty winds, and snow showers to warm temperatures, gentle breezes, and sunshine, the wild swings can make for some interesting sights in the sky. Discover a few of them as you engage your group in the activities suggested below.

  • SPRING SKY SIGHTS: Listen to the song “It’s a Wonderful World,” sung by Louis Armstrong. Ask participants to name some possible early spring sights in the day and night skies (be specific): double rainbow, cumulus clouds, the Sun, a flock of wild geese, jumbo jets, the Big Dipper, commercial drone, full moon, shamrock banner flag or Erin-Go-Bragh flag, bald eagles, lightning bolt, diamond-shaped kite, Jupiter and Venus, shooting stars, hot air balloon, American flag, droplets of rain, weather satellite, International Space Station.
  • DISCUSSION: Talk about the meaning of the following quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.”
  • SKY SONGS: Songs for listening – “Blue Skies,” “Get Off My Cloud,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “You Are My Sunshine,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Good Morning, Star Shine,” “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” “Swinging on a Star,” “I Got the Sun in the Morning,” “Catch a Falling Star,” “When You Wish Upon a Star.”
  • IDIOMS: Use these idioms to describe a particular situation: came out of the clear blue sky, go sky-high, the sky’s the limit, reach for the sky, pie in the sky, eye to the sky. (Example: Gas prices are set to go sky-high.)
  • SKYLINES: Show a picture of the skyline in a large city, like New York. Talk about the history of skyscrapers and find out the names of some of the tallest buildings in the U.S. (Examples: One World Trade Center, Empire State Building, Sears Tower, Chrysler Building) Ask: What is the tallest building you’ve ever been in? How high was it? Did you go to the top floor? Describe the view.
  • SHORT STORY: Listen to the short story titled “Hot Air Balloon” on the CD Five Minute Memories (a featured product for the month). Share memories of airborne adventures such as sky diving, hang gliding, hot air balloons, glider rides, bungee jumping. Ask: Have you ever gone up in a hot air balloon? Describe the experience. Do you enjoy flying? What was the longest flight you ever took? What do you like about being in the sky?
  • OUTER SPACE: Watch the1999 film October Sky – about the 1957 space race. Share memories of missions to the moon, the space shuttle, and the space station. Ask group members if they would like to travel in outer space and why.
  • THE MOON: Invite a local farmer/gardener to talk about using the phases of the moon (according to the oldFarmers’ Almanac) to plant gardens and crops. Share other weather folklore related to the planting season.
  • EAGLES: Show photos of eagles soaring high in the sky (see National Geographic’s web site). Find out why the eagle flies alone and how high it can go. Talk about the meaning of “eagle eye.”
  • NIGHT SKY: Invite an astronomer to talk about night sky events during the month of March or early spring. (Examples: stars, visible planets, meteor showers, eclipses, moon phases) Show tools that an astronomer uses, including binoculars, telescopes, and cameras.
  • FLYING FLAGS: Get ready for baseball’s Opening Day by displaying a photo of the American flag flying against a clear blue sky. Sing our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and talk about the lyrics. Research the connection between the 200-year-old tune and sports games like baseball.
  • BIRD’S-EYE VIEW: Imagine you are taking a helicopter tour over New York City or another large city. Describe the changing landscape below. What would you see? (Examples: Central Park, Empire State Building and other tall buildings/offices, Hudson River, LaGuardia Airport, New York Harbor)
  • ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Sing the first couple of words or hum a few bars of some well-known Irish songs. Talk about the legend of a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow (guarded by a leprechaun). Challenge your group to a leprechaun lore quiz. Read old Irish blessings and sayings that mention the sun, sky, or rainbows.
  • DRONES: Show photos of drones and talk about their commercial and private uses. Ask participants how they feel about small, unmanned aircraft flying over the U.S. skies to collect data and information. How about a drone package delivery program?
  • IN THE AIR: Invite a private citizen who has a pilot’s license to talk about flying small aircraft. What sparked his or her interest in flying and how did s/he get licensed? Ask participants: Did you ever fly in a small plane or helicopter? Tell about the experience. If you could fly your own plane, where would you go?
  • MOVIE TIME:Watch the animated movie Up, about the friendship between an older adult and a young boy who go to South America aboard a flying house, lifted up by helium balloons.

SKY TRIVIA QUIZ

  1. What is the brightest planet visible from Earth with the naked eye? Jupiter
  2. How is a rainbow formed in the sky? Sun and raindrops
  3. Finish the saying: “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight/ Red sky in the morning…. Sailor’s warning
  4. According to Greek mythology, who is god of the sky? Zeus
  5. Which fictional children’s character was hit on the head with an acorn and believed the sky was falling? Chicken Little
  6. What is a skylark? Bird
  7. Finish the famous line: “Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s….” Superman
  8. What do we call it when little balls of ice fall from the sky? Hail
  9. On the TV show Sky King, what was the name of Schuyler “Sky” King’s twin-Cessna plane? Songbird
  10. What type of cloud produces showers and thunderstorms? Cumulonimbus

THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH

“A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition.” ~ William Arthur Ward

“Up in the Sky” was written by Sue Hansen. Copyright 2015 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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