Programme Ideas

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Programme Ideas

Post by SpaceCanada »

* COUNSELLORS PLEASE READ *

I do not know whether this is an appropriate topic to post here, but I need some help. Who else better to help me with this than some greatly experienced US Space Camp and Aviation Challenge counsellors. Read on...

For some time now I have been working as a volunteer with the Odyssium (http://www.odyssium.com), the local science/space centre, to organise an improved summer space programme. The programme is 5 days (8-hours each) long and is divided into two levels, one for younger kids (8-11?) and one for older kids (12-14?). (We have yet to name the programmes, but 'Space Explorers' has been the name so far...)

Using my experience from attending programmes at US Space Camp, and one of the staff member's experiences from an educator's conference with the Canadian Space Agency, we have compiled a rough programme. However, to add some final touches, we would like to ask you, the counsellors of US Space Camp and Aviation Challenge, for some ideas and suggestions. If you could please answer the following:

- What is a great way to teach young kids about the early space programme: Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, etc.?

- How can you teach young kids about satellites, what they do, and how they get into space?

- Are there any simple games we can play or activities we can to to enhance the day camp experience? (What are some of the kids at Space Camp's favourite activities, and would we be able to simulate them here?)

- Favourite times (stories) at Space Camp with yunger kids? What works best?

- What about non-SCUBA water activities for kids to demonstrate microgravity and neutral buoyancy training? (I saw some pictures in older programme guides of said activities.)

- Are there any resources (besides NASA Educator Centres) I should use to facilitate the planning of these programmes?

We do not have access to space shuttle mock-ups or simulators other than a very crude rendition of the MAT and a small ISS-like module with a miniature hydroponics lab. We do have access to some of the items from the Challenger Centre that used to be here, but everything is in a warehouse somewhere off-site. We have a Mars Rover mission set up, and I would be glad to share the mission profile with anyone who wants to know more.

I know this is rather vague, but I do have more details available if anyone wants to critically analyse the programmes we have outlined. Nothing is official yet, and these programmes will not be fully run until 2006. For 2005 we will be testing our programmes by combining them with existing programmes - seeing what works by trial and error.

As for non-counsellors who are reading this, please only coment if you have something constructive to say. If you attended Space Camp when you were 9-14 years old, I would like to hear your favourite memories, games, etc. but don't get too carried away.

I look forward to hearing everyone's ideas. While I wish I could send all these kids off to US Space Camp or Space Camp Spatiale Canada for the week to get a true experience, I cannot... but I hope I can organise a quality space-based programme for Edmonton-area kids.
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Post by Space Nerd »

Clearly i'm not a counselor but i did go to camp for the first time when i was 14 and i do have something constructive to say. When they gave us the space history briefing for Mercury, Gemini and Apollo they took us to each of the capsul mockups in the museum so that we would have something to visualize. Being in front of what we talked about helped me greatly as well as the stories they told about the programs (the pee story lol). If you have these historical mockups availiable to you i strongly suggest that method because i can still remember each of the briefings. Anyway i hope that helps... :)
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Post by meg »

lol. nathalie. :D
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Post by Space Nerd »

Actually Lisa lol. But Nathalie did them that way too just not for academy lol.
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Post by SpaceCanada »

This is a good idea, and I appreciate the feedback. We do not have a museum full of space capsules, but we could use models or pictures to help. Keeping the attention of an 8-year-old may be difficult, so we may reserve this 'briefing' for the second level programme.

I never did the museum scavenger hunt so many of you talk about. What is this 'scavenger hunt' and do the younger kids (9-11) enjoy it?
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Post by spacy chick »

I've done the scavenger hunt many times. I loved it. I think kids around 11 would like it. It depends on if you want to let a bunch of little kids run all over a museum by themselves...
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Post by MAYTAG »

what are you talking about kids around 11, im 17 and i still love the scavenger hunt lol, but no it is realy fun and almost any age group can do it, just do different facts for each age for little kids you can even keep them in one small area to keep an eye on them
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Post by spacy chick »

I was just saying it may not hold the attention of a 9 year old...i know my sister had a short attention span when she was 9...personaly though, i do love it
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Post by SpaceCanada »

But, what is it? I know it has to do with kids finding things in a museum, but what? Do you have a list of things they have to find? Is it a list of questions they have to answer? Do they use the pre-existing exhibits to find the informaiton or are there extra cards with information lying around? Are there clues or riddles to find certain items?

In my three times at camp we only did the scavenger hunt once. It turned into a disaster and was cancelled before it started. Thus, I don't remember any of it.
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Post by MAYTAG »

what happens are the counselors have a bunch of questions that the answers can be found somewhere in the museam, they split you up into teams and give each team a question to start with, the teams walk around the museam until they can find where the answer is and then go back to the counselor and tell them the answer and where they found it, this is so that kids who already know the answers dont have an unfair adventage

when a team comes back to the counselor if the answer is right they are given another question, when the counselor runs out of questions to give out the gather the teams and each team counts how many they have

the team with the most wins!

really simple and fun
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Post by Space Nerd »

Phil let my team answer questions right off the top of our heads once but we had to go to the back of the line every time. :lol: It was fun cause we only had to look up like three. :D
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Post by SpaceCanada »

Are the answers on cards around the museum or are they part of the existing exhibits? If the latter is the case, then experienced campers would know the locations from previous years...
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Post by Space Nerd »

The last time i played they gave us a binder clip thing with a bunch of cards attatched to it and thats how we got our questions. the answers to the questions are found on exisiting exhibits so yes, experienced campers know where they all are. This, i presume, is why 8- day does not do the scavenger hunt. :lol:
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Post by SpaceCanada »

Thanks!

I will put forward the scavenger hunt as an activity for the programme I am helping to create. We do have a space exhibit with a Soujourner rover, some computers, and a few small exhibits. We could come up with something, even for the younger kids.

Any other really great space activity ideas for young kids?
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Post by MAYTAG »

yea after you've done it once you pretty much know all of the answers but there are enough different questions that you get some new ones each time ive done it three times so far two during camp and one in eald, we had already done pretty much everything else lol
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Post by Boomerang »

Welli'm not a space camp counselor either but iwork for a museum doing the same kind of programs for kuids in the summer as you described above. One activity thats always a winner that we do is model rockets ofcourse that always depends on your local laws. An alternative that works well is making water rockets out of old soda bottles i don't know how we exactly do it but we hook them up to an air compressor on a launch pad that hjods tghem in place then release them after pumping them up of course. Anmd they can go pretty high. We also let the kids decorate bthem put fins and nose cones on etc they ussually seem to like it. And in summer you get a little wet so it helps to cool off. We have a diffrent theme every week for our camps so our activities can very from week to week. We ofcourse do other things like making styragoam gliders having guest speakers from NASA, and in our museum we have an Imax theater so they can always go and see a movie. It really depends alot on your museum and your local laws whaty you can do.
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Post by SpaceCanada »

Thanks for the information Jason. We do have a very complex model rocket for the kids to construct. We then launch them in the field behind the science centre, weather permitting. The kids usually have a really great time, as do the counsellors - it's our favourite day of the week! We also have an IMAX theatre (not a dome or 3D theatre, but the original IMAX). We try to get in one space-themed IMAX film per week - last year it was 'Space Station' - what a great film. We do not have access to any spacey people to come visit our groups, but it is something we may consider in the future.

I would love to hear some more of the ideas you have from your space centre's programmes. Have you ever had any of the groups do a space 'mission' of sorts? If so, what was it and how did it work?
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Post by Benji »

Space Station... isn't that one with ADAM GITTLEMAN!!!
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Post by Space Nerd »

Oh yes, what a celebrity.
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Post by Boomerang »

Well we dont eally hav e any way to do any type of mission thing yet. Thouhg with my camps i try to let them use some of the various flight simulators in the museum ranging from a stunt plane to a small jet to an FA-22 and our two big boys a Boeing 717(DC-9) and our space shuttle landing simulator. We plan to remodel our space section of the museum in the next 2 years and if it will inhclude some new space flight related simulators including a rendevous and docking sim, a MMU simulator similar to those at space camp a new improved shuttle landing simulator and a space station mock up atleast of 1 module anyway. If i'm still their then i plan to definayely inmcorporate those things into my programs but thats still 2 years away. I guess we are lucky since we have a NASA center nearby and a NASA ERC on sight we have plenty of resources. Ad we are one of the lucky ones to have a 3d Imax theater. As far as guest speakers though you might want to get a pilot from a local airport to come and do a talk its still flight related. Or even better a military pilot since pilot astronauts generally are or have been military pilots at some point. Or talk to some engineers and maybe have one come and talk to the group. So far i've only done 3 camps 2 of them holiday themed and not really that much relating to space and the third was mainly aviation with some space thrown in. Hopefully after this summer i could have more ideas after i've done a few more camps but thats the best i can do. As i said our camps have alot of diffrent themes depending on the time of year they are happening as well as what imax movies we have showing. I won't even go into the horror stories of last summer's Harry Potter camps our museum did to go with the imax release of the third movie. Thankfully i was not involved in those camps i spent most of last summer doing public science demoes for the public. check out our museums website at www.vasc.org
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