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Space - a weekend wide game

We had a Space Camp on an ANZAC weekend for 10-15 year olds. We did the whole weekend as a story, starting from each patrol being an alien space crew which crashed on a planet due to a space war. The rest of the weekend was devoted to trying to contact their space fleet and the other aliens who had also crashed, exploring the planet, and then getting off the planet.

Here are some of the activities we did (or planned to do):

Wide Game incorporating:

SPACESUITS

A spacesuit contains a nonexpendable but flexible layer that contains oxygen to provide adequate pressure for astronauts on spacewalks. The oxygen that is fed into this layer is under pressure, and the pressure is exerted on the astronaut. The pressure makes the suit stiff. Predict some of the problems caused by this fact. To understand this problem, inflate a long balloon. Try to bend it. What can be done to make the balloon easier to bend? Think about the human arm. What helps it to bend easily?

Inflate a second long balloon but this time, use plastic or metal rings or heavy rubber bands to pinch off the balloon like sausage links. The rings or bands provide joints that make bending easier.

SPACE SUIT GLOVES

Because spacesuit gloves are inflated they can be stiff and hard to work in. To help the girls understand the problems astronauts will encounter when servicing the Hubble Space Telescope, have them try to do simple tasks while wearing thick insulated ski gloves (cover the gloves with rubber gloves to make it cleaner), such as:

  • Assemble a structure with construction toys or do a jigsaw
  • Write a message
  • Peel vegetables for dinner (competition against other patrol)
  • Sorting dried peas and corn for dinner (competition against other patrol)

ROCKETRY

A balloon can help you understand rocketry. Blow up a long balloon and clip the nozzle with a clothes pin so the air will not escape. Cut a plastic straw in half and tape the pieces of straw to the balloon about five inches apart. String eight feet of nylon fishing line through the straws. Tie or hold the line taut. Release the clip on the balloon. What did you observe?

Try different size balloons. Vary the amount of air in the balloon. Try adding a payload: tape a penny to the balloon, two pennies, etc. What would happen if you attach the fishing line to the ceiling and hold it taut at different angles? When did your balloon travel the farthest?

MANIPULATOR ARMS

Scientists working in space and deep under the ocean often use remote manipulator arms. These manipulator arms come in different shapes and sizes. Have the girls construct a manipulator arm to help them understand how one works.

Materials:

  • Poster board
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Brass Paper Fasteners
  • Hole punches
  • Scrap paper
  • Marbles

Procedure:

  1. Distribute the materials.
  2. Cut the poster board into four strips, each 15 centimeters long by 2 centimeters wide.
  3. Make two holes in each strip of poster board. Place one hole in the center of the strip. Center the other hole about one centimeter from one end of the strip.
  4. Use brass fasteners to assemble the accordion-like model as shown in the illustration.
  5. Girls will find that the manipulator does not grasp unless they cut "teeth" at the end.
  6. Crumple several pieces of scrap paper into small balls and drop them onto the floor randomly.
  7. Have girls take turns using their manipulator arms to arrange the crumpled paper into a square and then into a circular pattern. Repeat the exercise using marbles. Girls may need to redesign their manipulator arm to pick up the marbles.

SPACE DEBRIS AND TRANSPORT METHODS

make rockets: either with film containers or see instructions on the following Web sites:

http://search.nasa.gov/search/search.jsp?nasaInclude=lessons

http://www.spacegrant.hawaii.edu/class_acts/AlkaRocket.html

http://www.spacegrant.hawaii.edu/class_acts/AlkaRocketTe.html

FILM CANISTER ROCKETS

DO NOT use Vinegar and Baking Soda. They react far too quickly. Use 1/4 to 1/3 of an Alka Seltzer and water. Cold water reacts much slower than Hot water. We staple a toilet paper tube to a small paper plate to act as a mortar tube. Be sure to place the canister upside down into the tube and don't look down into the tube while waiting for it to pop. This is a good Outdoor event because it can get rather messy. By the way, the FUJI film canisters (white or clear) work better than the KODAK grey canisters.

Comets

Total cost for 24 girls - $4.

Materials:

  • old fabric scraps cut into a square about 6"
  • rice
  • streamers
  • string

Method:

1.Pour about a 1/4 cup of rice in the middle of the square.

2.Put three or four foot long streamers on top of the rice.

3.Twist up your fabric so the rice is in a tight little ball with the streamers coming out the end.

4.Tie tightly with a foot long piece of string.

5.Throw around... kept the girls entertained outside for hours and hours...

scavenger hunt with film containers

Collect items from this planet to take back when you rejoin your Fleet. You have 15 minutes to collect as many small items as will fit into your container.

stalk an alien and try to communicate with it

Shona Mulholland, Akela from 5th Leith Cubs, Edinburgh, Scotland, contacted me about the rules for the stalk an alien and try to communicate with it base mentioned above. I told her that I no longer had the details (they're on a computer long gone).

My hazy memory tells me that they had to stalk a leader (the alien), and try to communicate some sort of message to it. If the alien plays really dumb (as an alien undoubtedly would not understand human speech or gestures), the exercise can be very challenging for the players. My thought is that the message should be fairly simple, something along the lines of  come and eat with us, or here are some gifts, or something.

So I asked Shona if she would tell me what her cubs did, and she did. This is what she said:

The background story we gave was that an alien had crash landed - couldn't speak any Earth languages (including sign language).

We had a leader being an alien, who was only allowed to say beedle beedle or something stupid like that.

The Cubs had to find a way to tell him which planet he was on and then to find out which star system he came from (this was all to tie in with the Astronomy badge).

They had to do a hunt to find pictures of each of the planets in the Solar system plus the sun - then put those into order and point out Earth. They then had to find a star map showing constellations and get the alien to point out his sun.

it went down very well as the alien was a great actor.

Thanks, Shona!