Thursday, August 5, 2010

Neil Armstrong's Birthday!

Today is Neil Armstrong's birthday so I thought it would be great to share some activities with your kids about the moon. It is hard for young kids today to understand the excitement of the first man to walk on the moon so maybe a history lesson should be where we start.
Important Facts:

  • In 1966, aboard Gemini 8, Neil Armstrong became the first man to perform the first manned docking of two spacecrafts with pilot David Scott.
  • Armstrong's second and last spaceflight was as mission commander of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission on July 20, 1969. On this mission, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface and spent 2.5 hours exploring while Michael Collins remained in orbit in the Command Module. Armstrong is a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
  • His quote as soon as his left boot touched the moon's surface "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" is one of the most famous quotes of all time.
  • 450 million people around the world heard that quote as it was aired live from space.
  • 15 minutes after Armstrong stepped onto the moon's surface, Buzz Aldrin joined him.
  • While preparing for liftoff from the moon's surface, they discovered that in their bulky spacesuits they had accidentally broken the ignition switch for the ascent engine. They proceeded to use part of a pen to fire the engine. Neil Armstrong still has that pen on display.
  • The footprints that were left on the moon during that first space walk in 1969 are still on the surface of the moon. This is possible because there is no wind or rain on the surface of the moon so footprints last there forever.

The set up for craters

The craters

For some activities we did a few different things. First we discovered how craters are formed. This idea comes from Universe Today. We put a small layer of flour in the bottom of a cake pan and then covered it with cocoa. We were then supposed to drop marbles on the surface to act as space rocks but since we had no marbles we used out bear sorters/counters. Be forewarned, this is messy when things drop in the flour/cocoa but my son had a lot of fun doing it.

Top view of star ball

Side view of star ball

The next thing we did was make Star Balls. We took card stock and cut out 7 identical circles. We then took 6 of the circles and folded them in half and cut a slit horizontally to the fold that extended about halfway through the semi circle. Take the one remaining circle and fit it into the slits of the other six circles.

A game to play is called "Man  in the Moon". All but one child stands in a line on one side of the yard. The one single person is the Man in the Moon. He chants:

"I am the Man in the Moon.
I will catch you soon,
If you are (name a clothing color or the first letter of a name)."

Once the chant is said everyone that fits the description tries to run to the other end of the yard. If they are caught they must then assist the Man  in tagging the other players. You continue the game until everyone has been tagged.

For dinner, we made Moon Crater Pizzas. I took English muffins and sliced them in half.

We then talked about how the English muffins look like the craters we made earlier. Once that discussion was over, we spread some pizza sauce on the English muffins and covered that with pepperonis.

I had taken some time earlier to cut some of the pepperoni into halves (for the half moon), the rest were left whole to represent the full moon. Next we sprinkled on the cheese and baked it.

Hope you had fun celebrating Neil Armstrong's birthday with us.

1 comment:

  1. The pizzas are a great idea for Neil Armstrongs birthday. I have made them before and they are very yummy. Great post!

    - Beth