This blog was originaly posted shortly after Easter 2019 - This year sadly my Easter Space Camp for children can not take place due to COVID 19. Ironicly the children are not in school for the same reason and Space Camp would have been a very useful event for both kids and parents struggling in this crisis. Stay safe, hope you enjoy this rerun.
Children spinning their little handmade Saturn models with joy !!
At Easter I ran a small space camp for children. It was over three mornings in Louisburgh Co Mayo.The venue was Books at One, the local community bookshop. We packed a lot of things into the three mornings, in fact, I had too much planned. Better too much than too little in my experience. Space Camp joy abounded !
Day 1 Space Camp
We built paper rockets that we blew into space (in the room). I have a box of interesting forever goodies. These are intended to be made into something at some time. In the box, I found some triangular stickers. These had rocket holograms on them !! Perfect for rocket fins, the kids agreed and they loved them. The stickers came from Recreate Ireland which encourages creativity through reuse.
We checked out the news on The Planetary Society's Light Sail 2 project. New information for the children so lots of ooohhs and aahhs of joy and interest filled the room. We learned about SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket and its amazing landings OOOH Yeah !! We also learnt about NASA and SpaceX plans to launch DART Double Asteroid Redirection Test (Dart). This test will check how a particular asteroid moves when hit by an impactor. It should pave the way for the development of Earth defence systems.
Asteroid close to home
Our news session took on a personal aspect when I told the children that Deirdre had just had an asteroid named after her in space. (More on that soon, still getting my head around it). The children all hoped that Deirdre's asteroid would not crash into the Earth 🙂
Day 2 Space Camp
We made Moon Infographics to help the children understand the phases of the moon. We cut out all the moon shapes and wrote down all the phase names as neatly as we could. The children stuck down the phases in the correct order. Then when the moon is in the sky they have their own chart to check which phase it is exactly.
It was a difficult task for some children because of age and skill differences. It was a much longer effort than expected, however, all the children did well. The proof of learning came in the moon quiz at the end when the right answers were offered enthusiastically. The children got their answers right because they had been engaged with learning by paying attention to detail.
Day 3 Space Camp
Because we had a packed schedule I had to paint all the Saturn rings the evening before so that they would be dry The idea was to make little Saturn models using some old CDs and small polystyrene balls. As soon as the halved balls been stuck to the white CD's the children, collectively started to spin their planets. A spontaneous fun-filled moment that actually summed up the joy of learning. Little Saturns spinning off the table, crashing into each other, being fixed on the go 🙂
We drew Mimas, one of Saturns smaller moons. The children listened to the story of the Cassini mission to Saturn. Our space camp finished with a video about the end of the Cassini Mission . I was delighted to have some Cassini educational material left to give away. Am lucky to have some great Cassini cards from my time as a member of The Saturn Observation Campaign. More space camp joy for the children.