Friday, March 15, 2019

Building a Rocket

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Sourcing our boxes from the supermarket
As a science teacher, I am very passionate about teaching our kids in creative and demonstrative ways. I want my girls to know that science is very much for everyone and that they can get involved in all kinds of ways. My wife came up with the idea that we should build a rocket. Not just one made out of a used toilet roll cardboard - a mega life-size (ish) rocket made out of boxes and covered in tin foil. This rocket was going to go on an actual (imaginary) space mission. I thought it sounded like a good idea, and definitely something the kids would enjoy, so we set to work.

First of all we talked to the kids about what jobs they could do in space, and a bit about space missions in general. They then decided to make some ID cards complete with bar codes to swipe to enter the rocket.

We sourced some cardboard boxes and set to building.

When we had finished, the girls got inside and set about their 'mission.' I'll be honest it was a bit of hard work and at times we felt like giving up on building it so big! But we got there in the end, and our rocket had cling-film windows and fire at the bottom. It did look good.

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Our ID badges

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Blast off!

It was great to spend a day with the kids teaching them about astronomy and a little astrophysics. I'm not sure they're quite ready to enter the depths of space just yet, but it was a good start!

While we were working, the kids started asking me questions about space and space travel, which was music to my ears as a physicist, so I was happy to tell them all they wanted.  They asked about when they would be able to visit Mars, so I explained the difficulties (the distance, the time it would take to travel there, making sure there was enough food, water and oxygen for the trip, and some of the lesser known issues such as muscle wastage from being in a micro gravity environment for so long and exposure to harmful cosmic radiation).

Of course, they wanted to know about aliens, but I think I made their heads spin a bit trying to get them to understand the immense size of the universe, and that would be more more unlikely for their to not be intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.

Hopefully, they will keep up their interest in space in the long run, and maybe follow in their Dad's footsteps with a life in science!

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