Friday, December 5

Orion Rocket Craft

Guess what happened today.

Orion. That's what happened. Yep. NASA has officially—and successfully—launched Orion, a new spacecraft that is designed to take humans farther than ever before. Granted, it's a test launch, but successful, nonetheless. Don't you realize what this means?? Man may soon be on Mars! (Soon being relative: it will still be another decade or two. Still.). Check out the launch video:

So this got me planning an awesome kids' activity. I'm thinking I may use it for a kids program, or even another space storytime. Either way, you guys should try it out.

Book Ideas

DK Eyewitness Books: Space Exploration
Carole Stott

ISBN: 978-1465426161
DK Children (2014)

This here is for up-to-date information on the exploring of our solar system. It gives some history, as well as what is planned for the future (Orion!). I really admire the Eyewitness books because they really invite kids to browse their information. They don't have to read it front to back; they can read some or all in whatever way they like.

13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System
David A. Aguilar

ISBN: 978-1426307706
National Geographic (2011)

Check this out for up-to-date information about the planets in our solar system. It has amazing photos, interesting facts, and some hands-on ideas for budding astronomers. After hearing about Orion, you can use this book to get a needed profile on Mars AND asteroids (because NASA's goal before Mars: landing on an asteroid).

A Trip into Space: An Adventure to the International Space Station 
Written by Lori Haskins Houran, illustrated by Francisca Marquez

ISBN: 978-0807580912
Albert Whitman & Co. (2014)

With rhythmic text and eye-catching illustrations, this one is a great introduction to space exploration for a younger crowd (ages 4 - 7). It gives all sorts of interesting details about launching into space, life in the International Space Station, and the work done during a space walk. Heck, their facts were even verified by NASA, so it's legit.

Jason Chin

ISBN: 978-1596437173
Roaring Brook Press (2014)

Okay, so this one is more for fun. What would happen if there was no gravity? What does gravity do? With very simple text but amazing illustrations, Chin addresses these ideas. Fascinating book. You've got to check it out whether or not you're interested in Orion.

Hands-On Activity

Straw rockets!

Do you like my Orion straw rocket? Yeah. It's pretty cool, if I do say so myself. But this is so easy to do at home or in class or wherever you may be! The materials:

Straws, paper, tape, scissors, and a variety of design instruments. In this case, I used some strategically selected markers and an orange highlighter.

Color your design, roll up, and tape*...

*but not too tight, or it will be hard to get on and off the straw!

Make the nose by folding one side in at an angle, then the other side, and tape...

And you have some awesome rockets! Try seeing what designs go the farthest, have competitions, or aim for some target. Have all kinds of fun!

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