Monday, March 24, 2014

Kids' Astronomy and Rocket Science: the Big Picture

 Okay, technically, it's not rocket science.  It's model rocket science.

And it's super fun!

We started our younger kids science class last Thursday.  I have 11 students aged 6 to 12 (including Oob, Choclo, and Leena) and 5 older lab assistants (including Zorg, Klenda and Mxyl, our staff photographer).  All photos will be from from Mxyl.

Here's how our class is set up:
1 Motion and Distance
2 Earth and Other Planets
3 The Moon
4 The Sun and Other Stars
(Easter Break)
5 Rockets: Newton's First Law
6 Rockets: Newton's Second Law
7 Rockets: Newton's Third Law
8 Visit Observatory (at night!)
9 Build Rockets
9.5 Optional extra build class for older kids and fancy paint jobs
10 Launch Rockets at NASA Goddard

I'm drawing a lot from Janice Van Cleave's Astronomy for Every Kid, and from the rocket program developed by my cousin, Ed (whose granddaughter is taking the class!).   I'll post all the materials and sources as I go - most of it's free, either printable on line or stuff you probably have.  The exception is the model rockets themselves.  I'm getting them in a class pack from AC Supply - way the cheapest and easiest way to do it.

Cheapest because it breaks down to $15-$20 a complete rocket (including 2 engines per rocket) counting the shipping.

 Easiest because I'm getting rockets with pre-molded fin assemblies.  If you are doing this with single digit kids, this is the way to go.  Older kids can get their own fins on straight, but with younger kids, it's an exercise in frustration..

I've now done the rocket program three or four times and I keep adding on and fiddling with it.  I blogged about the rockets last time in 2011.  This time around, each class is an hour.

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