There's something just so fun about leap day. I think it must be the novelty of a day that only happens every 4 years and the feeling that you get a bonus day! My half birthday falls on leap day so I always feel a little extra special that day.
We wanted to create a day of exciting leap day activities that were still meaningful. We chose to focus our activities on outerspace, particularly the first moon walk and Neil Armstrong's famous "one giant leap." Even if you don't use our set, there are lots of ideas here for a fun space themed day!
Note: We created this for leap day but that doesn't mean these activities are only usable once every four years. These ideas and resources would complement any space unit, would work wonderfully for easy sub plans, or make a great themed review day at the end of the year. Really, you can celebrate space and learning any day of the year!
Take a look at what we have planned for our One Giant Leap (Day) Celebration!
Books and Mini Biography
We love any excuse to buy new books so we had a blast collecting space-themed books for this celebration. Some are non-fiction and some are just for fun! Here are some of books to read and let the students read on your space day:
- Neil Armstrong (Rookie Biographies) by Dana Meachan Rau
- One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong by Don Brown
- If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty
- What the Moon is Like (Let's Read and Find Out Science) by Franklyn M. Branley
- One Giant Leap by Robert Burleigh
- Space Boy by Leo Landry
After reading some non-fiction books about Neil Armstrong, let the students make a little mini-biography about him and his legacy!
We think coming up with displays for the hall outside your classroom is sometimes the most annoying task in the world so we try to build meaningful activities like this into our celebrations that will result in something easy to stick up in the hall! Part of Neil Armstrong's legacy is that he showed us that working hard can help make even seemingly impossible dreams come true. After discussion and a pre-writing activity, students write their response and put it together with a chalk footprint on construction paper. We included a few pages you can put up in the hall to explain the significance of the activity.
Note: For a quote we all recognize, there's a surprising amount of controversy about what Neil Armstrong actually said when he stepped on the moon. Neil Armstrong insists that he said an "a" before the word man making it "one small step for a man..." As he pointed out, the line wouldn't make sense without that word. In the audio, it's hard to discern. Some linguists say that in Ohio, where Neil is from, it's common to swallow vowels and, though it may be hard to hear, the "a" is definitely there. Other linguists disagree. Since there is no consensus, we've decided to give the benefit of the doubt to the one man who was actually there when it was said -- Neil Armstong -- and go with what he says is the true statement.
What celebration is complete without an awesome photo opp? We made fill-in-the-blank versions (dated and undated) to answer how students will make their mark on the world as well as print-and-go versions that say "I made a giant leap in learning!" If you're doing a time capsule, these photos would be perfect to slip in those envelopes.
Don't you just love a time capsule? Leap day is the perfect day to do one because there's a built in timer and reminder to open it on the next leap day. We wanted to keep this as simple as possible so there aren't a ton of pages to fill out or supplies to gather. You need an envelope (these foil ones look extra-spacey and cool - you might be able to find them cheaper in an office supply store) of any size, some string to measure height, paper for hand and foot prints, letter to future self, a lift-the-flap questionnaire, and a photo. I used my Instax camera for an instant photo option but you could take the photos with your phone or camera then print them and slip into the envelopes the next day. (If you do that, just remember to leave them unsealed until the photos are added!)
See isn't this foil envelope spacey fun?!
Students can decorate their envelopes with different labels and pictures. We've included leap year labels up to 2028, so that should give you plenty to work with! You can print them on white and have students color them or print them on Astrobrights paper.
Every day, even a fun one like this, can always use some brain breaks. We came up with 12 different leap-day themed brain breaks you can use to refocus, recharge, and refresh your students. There are colored background versions (that need their borders trimmed) as well as black & white ones that you can print on colored paper and quickly cut. They look so awesome on the Astrobrights paper!
Reading Comprehension Passage
Teach your students a little bit about the origin of leap day with a reading comprehension passage. The passages are differentiated for 3 levels of difficulty and include comprehension questions.
Differentiated Work Pages
You would think that this would be the least-favorite activity of the day, but you would be wrong! Our students always LOVE a fun themed packet like this. And while we had a blast with the space theme, we still made sure that all of the activities were purposeful. We made 3 levels of each activity so you can differentiate for your students if needed. The 3 levels also make these pages applicable for several grade levels. There are 4 ELA pages and 4 math pages for each level. The cover for the packet is a guided poetry activity. And there are several fun leap-day pages you can include as well.
Tip: to save paper we like to print 2 activities on a page and double side it so you can get 4 pages worth of printing on only 1 page.
Language arts topics include: alphabetical order, syllables, proper nouns, and letter sounds.
For math, there are pages on: addition and multiplication with a missing part, place value, fractions, and number sense (expanded notation and rounding).
Since the pages are differentiated, you can have everyone practicing these important concepts at their own level!
We hope you have lots of fun leaping in learning on leap day. If you want to snag all the resources in this post, check out our One Giant Leap set in our shop! Make the most of your extra day!