September 1, 2011

Hey, Widget, how was your second day of first grade?


No, really, on a scale of 1, meaning terrible, to 10, meaning awesome, how was it?


he joyfully shouted, as he raced off to play with his little brother after school.

I could not be happier.

Planetary telescopes

March 28, 2011

Construction paper, pins, tape, hole punch, stickersToday we’re going to teach Little Bear’s classroom about space!  The kids are 3 and 4, so we’re going to keep it hands-on and light. . . literally!

We’re going to help each kid make a “telescope” out of construction paper and point it at pictures of the planets, to see how they’re different.  After we talk about the planets a while, we’ll tape a piece of black paper with pinholes to the end of the telescope and look through it at a light — to see “the stars.”  It’s an easy craft to make, and I hope it will be a fun way to introduce these little ones to the planets and put the stars within their reach.  (Even if they’re not allowed to stay up late enough to see the real ones!)

I can post instructions and a debrief afterwards — but now, I’ve got to run — Widget and I have a date to teach Bear’s class about the planets and the stars, and I am SO HAPPY.

The idea for this craft came from Marissa, at Our Daylight Adventures, who did the toilet paper telescope craft with her son for Team WhyMommy’s Virtual Science Fair last April.  The Virtual Science Fair was such an amazing gift — I read through all the projects again last week, and I still can’t believe it.  I wanted to go through and leave comments everywhere, since I was too sick to do it April 7 after my surgery (though I read and loved them all!), but who checks comments on year-old posts?


Space Station Challenge: Grades 5-8

November 23, 2010

I’m still recovering from a nasty virus.  Day 7 of fever and such – not something you want to hear about, trust me!  Instead, feast your eyes on this – and please pass it along to your school or homeschool group for kids in 5-8 grades!


HOUSTON — NASA’s “Kids in Micro-g” challenge is accepting proposals from students in fifth through eighth grades to design a classroom experiment that also can be performed by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Proposals are due by Dec. 8.

The experiments should examine the effect of weightlessness on various subjects: liquids, solids, the law of physics and humans. The experiments are expected to have observably different results in microgravity than in the classroom. The apparatus for the experiments must be constructed using materials from a special tool kit aboard the station. The kit contains items commonly found in classrooms for  science experiments. The experiments must take 30 minutes or less to set up, run and take down.

“This is a wonderful program that gives students the opportunity to have their experiments carried out in space by astronauts,” said Mark Severance, ISS national laboratory education projects manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “The students will compare the results of experiments conducted in the classroom with those conducted in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station.”

A panel of microgravity scientists, classroom teachers, NASA education and station operations personnel will select the winner and five runners-up. Their experiments will be performed on the orbiting laboratory next spring. During this past summer, astronauts performed nine student experiments aboard the space station. NASA selected those experiments from 132 submissions.

To learn more about how to submit proposals for the 2011 challenge, contact the ISS Payloads Office at jsc-iss-payloads-helpline@mail.nasa.gov or call 281-244-6187.  More information about the challenge and other NASA education programs also is available at:  http://www.nasa.gov/education. For more information about the space station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station

Sounds like fun!