Science Club at our humble little science store is a meeting held on Saturdays where school children from kindergarten through the eighth grade can come monthly to hear discussions of various science topics. This year, being not only the International Year of Science but also the International Year of Astronomy, the four hundredth anniversary of Galileo's observations with a telescope, the bi-centennary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species (free etext from Project Gutenberg here), we've had a number of great topics to discuss. October's will be no exception. This month, the local NASA educational outreach officer is due to come in to discuss space flight and space exploration.
Unfortunately, she can't make two of the four planned meetings. Fortunately, the Amateur Astronomer is a keen student of space missions, so he's taking one presentation, and I am taking the other, my sole credential being with my life-long fascination with space travel (I was the kid with the scrapbook of Voyager mission newspaper cuttings, after all). Yesterday, we met with the NASA educator, and she presented us with some of the materials that we could use and distribute to the kids, including images, stickers, and experimental materials. The image cards are very cool, we have a poster of mission patches to show the kids, stickers to give out, and different ways to model the size of the solar system. Should be a good time.
We have some really great ideas about what to do for this presentation, so much so that it's going to be hard to cram it all into an hour. And no, I don't intend to answer the question about how one uses the toilet in space. Some mysteries are better left... well, mysterious, and I'd prefer not to stray into the scatological if at all possible. But that's just me.
Of course, we don't get to eat the space food that we will have to show. I understand that. It's expensive to put Smarties in a vacuum-sealed bag. But the idea of making ziploc instant pudding bags to simulate how you would eat when weightless sounds too good to pass up, so I think that we're doing that.
If you want to learn some more about NASA's educational outreach, check out the website (the local one for Missouri is here). And if you're a member of the Beagle's Science Club, be prepared for some fun in October!