Friday, August 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Neil Armstrong!

August the 5th is Neil Armstrong's birthday, so at my house that means: "Space Party"! This year's party is a little bittersweet. After 30 years and 135 shuttle launches, the Space Program has been shut down. The shuttles are going to be on display in Virginia, New York, California and Florida. It would make a great trip for kids to see the actual shuttles that NASA has used for the last 30 years!

Shutting down NASA's Space Shuttle Program does not mean the end of astronauts or space exploration, it will just be different. If you grew up watching the space shuttles though, it is a sad occurrence.

Back to Neil Armstrong's birthday though! We celebrated it last year also and you can see those activities here. Last year's post also has some facts about that first walk upon the surface of the moon.

This year we did new activities. The first one is "Permanent Footprints". If you read last year's post then you know that the footprints that Neil Armstrong made on the moon in 1969 are still there! There is no wind or rain on the moon so footprints last forever. We talked about how to make permanent footprints on Earth and then we tried a few different activities to see what would last forever.

1) Step in water and make footprints. It is very hot here so these footprints lasted less than 5 minutes.
2) Paint our footprints. Since my son knows that I still have all of the hand and foot print activities that he has ever made (they are too adorable to get rid of), he knows that these are permanent to our family. We looked back at some of his footprint crafts and measured his current foot against them to see the growth.
3) We took Model Magic clay and made footprints. He loved doing this and we discussed how we had previously used it to make fossils.

Next we made a Rocket. This was lots of fun! We used a sheet of construction paper to make our rocket.

Fold the paper in half long ways and cut it into two even pieces.

With one piece of paper, trace a circle on one end and fins on the other end (I ended up not using the fins I had cut because they were to big for my rocket.).

Take the top of of your film canister and set the top aside. Roll the paper around your film canister, leaving the open end at the bottom edge of the paper. Tape the paper around the canister to stay.

Now tape your fins on, if you choose to use them.

Now fold your circle into a cone and tape it on.

Congrats, you just built a rocket! Now turn the rocket over and fill the canister about halfway with water. Cut an antacid tablet (like alka-seltzer) in half and drop a half in the water. Put on the top quickly and set on a steady surface. Look for it to fly!

Since I could not get a good picture of the explosion, we took a video instead!

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