Learning Resources: The Key to the Universe

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107 years old Abe Titterman is ready for an adventure when the mythical Key to the Universe lands in his shop of  antiques, alien artifacts and oddities from around the universe. Abe and his great-grandson, Quinn, venture from their shop on the Martian moon of Phobos, to a long-dead intergalactic philosopher, to a techno planet whose atmosphere is composed entirely of satellites, racing around the universe to discover the secrets of the Key.

They might even survive the trip.

Art: Moon City Printable | Skills: Creativity, Environment, Focus, Motor Skills | Ages: Young Children, Middle Grade, Teen

Screen Shot 2020-03-15 at 11.20.59 PMDraw a city on a moon. Use this moon printable or draw your own!

Game: Abe’s Antique Shop | Skills: Memorization, Problem Solving, Vocabulary | Ages: Young Children, Middle Grade, Teen

Abe’s Antique Shop

In The Key to the Universe, 107-year-old Abe Titterman owns an antique shop on the Martian moon of Phobos. His shop is packed with antiques, alien artifacts, and oddities from around the universe.

What kinds of things do you think you would find in an antique shop collecting items from Earth and around the solar system?high-wheel-bicycle-303797_1280

In this game (derived from Grandmother’s Attic) the first player says, “In Abe’s shop, I found an _____________ ” (item that starts with “A” ex: alien, asteroid, atlas, etc.).

The next player says the same phrase, the object beginning with the “A,” and then something that begins with a “B.” (“In Abe’s shop, I found an alien and a _______________” (item that starts with “B” ex: bone, blaster, black hole, etc.).

Continue around the circle as each player recites the previous items and adds the next one, all the way through the alphabet from “A” to “Z.”

Science: Xenobiology Creature Creation Printable (younger children) or Worksheet (MG/Teen) | Skills: Biology, Environment, Habitat, Vocabulary | Ages: Young Children, Middle Grade, Teen

Screen Shot 2020-03-15 at 11.37.38 PMCreatures from many different planets are described in The Key to the Universe. Let’s create our own!

Discuss/research habitats and planets. What types of Earth habitats might we find on various planets? Which kinds of species on earth could survive in those particular places? What about a made-up planet—what would you add?Screen Shot 2020-03-15 at 11.21.23 PM

What would your creature look like? What ways would it adapt to fit its environment?

For younger children, they can color creatures with these printables. For older children, fill out this sheet, then use the information to create a habitat and creature either as a drawing or 3-dimensional habitat in a shoebox or with blocks or legos.

Snack: Eating in Space | Skills: Research, Planning Problem Solving | Ages: Young Children, Middle Grade, Teen

rocket-1295381_1280Discuss/research: What kinds of foods can astronauts take with them into space? For help, check out NASA’s post “Eating in Space” or their video “Eat Like an Astronaut.”

Plan a menu for your trip to space, including one breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What do you have in your house right now that could make the trip? With a parent’s permission, pretend to be on a space expedition and eat that as a snack (options might include dried fruits, fruit snacks, or dry cereal). Enjoy your adventure!

Writing: Alien Emotions or Character Sketch Printable| Skills: Storytelling, Emotions, Cause & Effect, Character Development | Ages: Young Children, Middle Grade, Teen

Screen Shot 2020-03-16 at 12.36.17 AMFor younger children try the Alien Emotion printable to identify feelings. For extra fun, have your child tell a brief story about each of the aliens and identify why they’re feeling that way.Screen Shot 2020-03-16 at 1.33.42 PM

For older children and teens, print out the Character Sketch sheet and map out a character history. This allows them to identify with another person and tell their story. Writing a short story or first chapter in a novel based on the character sketch will take the skills to the next level and is a fun, creative way to practice writing, spelling, and handwriting.

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Space/Aliens (related book: The Key to the Universe by Patrick Scalisi, Young Adult/Humor/Adventure)

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