by Mara Gordon
Greetings, cosmonauts! October has so many fun holidays to celebrate, though as an educator I wanted to highlight World Space Week (WSW), which goes from October 4th– 10th. This international celebration of the cosmos has been around since 1999 and this year, WSW is about “Space and Entrepreneurship” recognizing all the potential opportunities that space has to offer.
Even though we are unable to celebrate World Space Week together at Explore & More, due to our temporary closure, there are many opportunities at home and in the community to provide children with hands-on experiences.
The best way to start learning about space at home is to spend some time outside! With something as vast as outer space, start with what we can see from Earth, the Sun and the Moon. Since it is never safe to stare at the sun directly, try a nighttime observation of the sky. Make your own “telescope” by decorating a cardboard tube to help focus on the moon and discover the constellations. Constellations are groups of stars that early astronomers connected to form a pattern. There are over 80 official constellations that represent mythological figures or stories such as the Little Dipper, Hercules or Pegasus (Farmers’ Almanac 2023).
As stargazing becomes a new tradition, grab a notebook or drawing pad to begin tracking the star positions each night. Use the North Star, or Polaris, to orientate yourself north and record the locations of the stars overhead to find constellations or to make your own pattern. Over time, the rotational journey of the Earth will reveal more of the night sky and new constellations to discover!
We are greatly looking forward to reopening and exploring space together with activities like making Pipe Cleaner Constellations in the Tinkering Tank and preparing for the Solar Eclipse of 2024! Stay tuned for more information about this monumental event.