Sometimes our Nature Study takes a bit of a detour from the everyday nature walks. At these times we go on an adventure and step outside our local environment. This time we went all the way to Huntsville, Alabama for a Space Camp Nature Book Club!
Space Camp Nature Book Club Pre-Activities
Getting the chance to go to Space Camp is a dream I've had since I was a child. So, when the opportunity came for us to be able to go as a family, I jumped at it!
The whole family, plus one of our book club members, jumped in the car and headed to Huntsville, Alabama to meet a group of homeschoolers from all over the country. We joined the Homeschool Road Trips crew from Hip Homeschool Moms. (Side Note: You might see Hide The Chocolate's better half at that link learning to moon walk. Shhh! Don't tell him it's on the internet. He is blissfully unaware and may not have approved of me giving permission to share it! 😉 )
But before we headed out. We did a few "pre-Space Camp Activities" to get us warmed up.
Space Camp Art
We started with a little art. You know how much we love the You ARE an Artist video courses! So, we were super excited to try out the space course.
The girls and I couldn't seem to stop creating planets, moons and sometimes even a Death Star or two.
Space Camp Videos
One of our all-time favorite space series is From Here to the Moon. We started on the series back when we went to NASA the year before, but didn't get a chance to finish it. The drive to Huntsville was the perfect opportunity to watch some of the final shows.
And, because we were heading to Space Camp, we absolutely HAD to watch Space Camp, the movie. It may have set up some unreal expectations - no we weren't accidentally launched into space.
Space Camp Activities
There is so much to do at Space Camp! When we arrived, we were assigned to pods in the space camp habitats. They were made to resemble living quarters in the International Space Station. As a 40 something year old mom, I was a bit unprepared for living like I was back in college, so we headed to the store and promptly bought a blow up mattress! But, the kids loved that they each had their own bunk bed, even if it was like sleeping on a board!
Learning to Live in Space
One of the first things you have to do when heading to space is learn what it's like to actually be in space.
We experienced walking in space using the 1/6 Gravity Chair. Some of us really got into moonwalking (see above about unapproved husband video).
Next we headed to the Multi-Axis Trainer. I will have to admit that it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Our instructor was fabulous at explaining how to keep from becoming violently ill.
Space Camp Rockets
Next we had to figure out a way to get to space.
The instructors began by taking us to the rocket lab where we built and named our very own rockets. (Bet you can't guess which one is mine. 😉 )
We were given the supplies and instructions and were allowed to make changes that we thought might improve flight times.
Then we headed outside to field test our rockets.
Now when you are going to test cardboard rockets at Space Camp, you go all out. We were given safety vests, hard hats and goggles. Then we were instructed to stand behind a large barrier until it was our turn to launch our rockets.
Some of our rockets made it way out to the trees beyond and some took a nose dive into the ground nearby. But, either way we had a "blast" launching our rockets in a spectacular way.
Space Camp Simulators
A large part of space camp is devoted to flight simulators and other "game-type" modules. The museum section is fascinating and includes rockets and modules that were used in the space program.
We spent quite a bit of time learning to fly and land our space shuttles. We also learned to drive a rover and crawled into a space capsule.
Rock climbing was another simulation because you never know when you'll have to climb out of a cavern on Mars! After this experience, we can safely say I will not be allowed on a mission to Mars. I will leave my rock climbing to your imagination, but needless to say I was the only person who ended up laying on the floor!
There are too many simulations to mention here, but we did them all!
Space Camp Mission
After all our training we were ready for our space mission simulation.
We were split into groups. I was assigned to be the Base Commander. As my husband said, they knew my need for control well when they made the assignments.
We were given our scripts, computer commands and gear and prepared for our mission. I am proud to say that we didn't crash or burst into flames once during our mission!
The youngest was chosen to repair a solar panel on the outside of the space station.
She and her partner were suited up and hoisted into the air where they grabbed their tools and went to work on the repairs.
Inside the space capsule other members of the team prepared science experiments.
Space Camp Graduation and Goodbye
At the end of the week, we had advanced so well (some better than others) that we were able to join the ranks of actual astronauts and graduated from Space Camp.
We each received a diploma and our flight wings to take home.
After saying our goodbyes to our teammates, we packed up our things and began to head back home.
But before we left, we placed a banana on the memorial for Miss Baker, the first US animal astronaut and former Space Camp mascot. We were told she is known to enjoy snacks even as a ghost monkey.
The Rocket that Flew to Mars Online Book Club
Join us for a Space Adventure!
Let's read the book, The Rocket that Flew to Mars! Then let's go on rabbit trails of discovery about rockets, solar energy, Mars, and more! We will toss some magic dust in the air and jump into the book with hands-on adventures.
And when we've finished the book, let's throw a party and celebrate space travel!
Take a Sneak Peek into our The Rocket That Flew to Mars Online Nature Book Club:
Adding adventure to the picture book, The Rocket That Flew To Mars
Now for the awesome Nature Book Club!
The Nature Book Club is a monthly link-up beginning on the 20th day of each month. It’s a monthly book club devoted to connecting children to nature through books. Each month has a different theme. We welcome your nature book and activity related links!
This Month's Nature Book Club theme:
Sky and Space
The Nature Book Club is brought to you by these 4 nature loving bloggers and myself who are your co-hosts! Are you following them? If you don’t want to miss anything, be sure to follow each one.
Here are the co-hosts, their choices of books, and activities for the month:
If You Decide to Go to the Moon Moon Phases Activity by Karyn at Teach Beside Me
The Night Sky Events for Spring 2019 by Eva Varga at EvaVarga
Stargazing with Children by Thaleia at Something 2 Offer
Hi, I’m Dachelle. I’m a homeschooling mom of 3 in the South. I love chocolate and have been known to hide it from my children. I can often be found reading a good book (or even sometimes just an okay book) and enjoying a jar of Nutella — don’t judge. I blog, here, at HideTheChocolate.com when I’m not creating book clubs and making lists…lots and lots of lists (it’s an addiction). Learn more…