This meeting had two goals: to have our girls complete the astronomy badge and to prepare them for our upcoming outing to the Cosmodôme (a space museum in Laval, Quebec). We started off finding out a bit about what the girls knew about space with a quiz game. We had them all line up along one side of the room and gave them 2 pens. As I asked true or false questions, they could hold up their two pens crossed or uncrossed (meaning false or true). If they got the question right, they got to take one step forward. I asked all kinds of questions here which made it possible to cover many of the required topics for the badge. I like this type of game because it gives you an idea of what the girls know without putting too much pressure on them. If they didn’t know the answer, they just looked around and saw what everyone else was doing. We ended up being quite surprised and impressed by how informed the girls were!
Our second activity of the night involved Mars. We spent a few minutes discussing what the girls knew about the planet (cold, no oxygen, red, etc) and then we split them up into patrols. Each patrol received a piece of paper with a list of objects on it. They were told that their spaceship had just landed on mars and that they were heading out for 6 hours but could only take 6 items with them. They could choose from the list or add their own. After 5-10 minutes, we came back into a circle and talked about why things like a bicycle, a compass and a sandwich might not be the best — too hilly, no magnetic North and too many crumbs — and about how things like water, a spacesuit, and a container could be handy.
Our next activity was the astronomy part of the evening — legends. We talked about what a legend is and where they come from before reading one about the great bear. After that, we challenged girls to come up with their own. We picked a question ( Why does it rain diamonds on Mercury?) and set about answering it in a story as a group. One at a time, each girl or leader could add to the story, but as soon as she said the word “and,” it was the next person’s turn. It was nice to hear some of our quieter girls speak up!
Our last space activity may have been a favourite amongst the girls — or at least their taste buds — as we fed them space food. I found freeze-dried apples and ice cream at MEC and as the girls ate, I explained a bit about how astronauts deal with food in space.
Our Halloween party is coming up soon so we had to take a few minutes to plan that, which unfortunately cut our space meeting a bit short. But, it sounds like we’re going to have a great haunted house!
If you want to hold a space meeting, you can find a more complete list of the questions I asked, Mars items I printed and the Great Bear legend here: Space Meeting
Also, I ran a Space night for Sparks (5-6 year olds) last year with some cool activities as well. We had a relay race where they had to go and visit all the planets. I found balls that were about the right relative sizes and gave them a different challenge when they got to each one. For example, they had to fan themselves on Venus (since it’s the hottest plant), hula hoop on Saturn (to represent the rings) and even stomp on Pluto (a squishy ball) since it isn’t a planet anymore.
We also talked about constellations and they got to invent their own. I gave them each a piece of paper with a few dots on it (real constellations) and asked them to complete it by drawing whatever picture they saw.
Of course, we also tasted some space food since kids of any age enjoy that!