Blast Off! Out of This World Fun!

— Written By

Our 4-H Summer has been filled with fun exciting journeys. Our Book Explorers have traveled all over the world from Poland to Nigeria. They’ve tried interesting food and made folk art. Some of our 4-Her’s even became junior members of the CDC (Center for Disease Control), but this past week we’ve done a lot of traveling and it wasn’t all on this planet. Monday, our last Book Explorers took us to London where we followed the Queen’s hat from Buckingham Palace across London to Kensington Gardens where a visitor told us all about the London Eye and the Ravens at the Tower of London; then joined us for Afternoon Tea.

Afternoon Tea: Tea Cups, Tea Pots, Finger Sandwiches, Digestive Biscuits, Sponge Cake, and Lemon Curd

As exciting as London and Big Ben are, our next journey took us to the Moon, Mars, Titan and Pluto with our Out of the World 4-H Camp. There’s a lot that goes into traveling off planet and our week began learning about friction, pressure, and trajectories. 4-Her’s constructed rockets out of construction paper, foam, and transparency, then tested to see which had the greatest wind resistance. They followed those tests up by testing the length and width of rockets. Most challenging was learning how to calculate trajectories with a protractor.

Kids using a stomp rocket launcher.

Our 4-Her’s had a great time launching their rockets, but then we had to decide what sort of mission we wanted to conduct. We made model rovers , choosing among Pan Cams, Chem Cams, Solar Panels, and robotic arms. It is quite tempting to load up a rover with all the tools available, however every piece of equipment adds weight to their pay load. Rockets that initially could fly past Pluto, suddenly could barely make it to Mars when the pay load was increased! Participants also learned how distributing the rocket’s weight could significantly affect how well the rocket could keep the intended path.

Launch time is exciting and rovers are thrilling, but space is cold, so how do astronauts keep themselves safe to conduct experiments? Gloves! The first step in designing a pair of astronaut gloves is learning how gloves can hinder our ability to perform tasks. The kids had a set of challenges to test three sets of gloves. They started with vinyl gloves, then moved to garden gloves, and finally oven mitts. Their challenges: separate a pile of paper clips into two separate cups in twenty seconds; find a hidden message in the bottom of a water filled pan; and finally open a glass jar in a pan of soapy water, remove three beads, and thread them onto a pipe cleaner.

4-Her learning how gloves affect his hand mobility by attempting to pick up paper clips with oven mitts on.

Learning how difficult it can be to perform tasks with thick gloves, set our kids up for their next challenge. Design their own gloves. They tested different insulating materials: sponges, straws, coffee filters, cotton balls, foam, felt, tin foil, and transparency, to see which protected against extreme temperatures the best. Then they had to think about impact. They designed their gloves to protect against both temperature and impact. They then tested their gloves by simulating bones with spaghetti and dropping weights to see which would protect astronauts hands the best. Sponges and Coffee Filters were a winning combination to protect for heat and impact.

Testing how well their insulators protect against impact, by dropping weights over simulated bones.

We had a lot of fun off planet, but it doesn’t have to end now that we’re back. We have two more Fun Friday’s with Love Thy Neighbor, and a whole lot of exciting programs planned once school starts. Check out our Autumn Fun Programs. We loved Book Explorer’s so much we’re going to keep it going once a month during the school year. This year’s Autumn STEM Club will be Robot’s and Programing with Dash and Cue. We are also excited to get our brains working with Debate Club. If you are interested in our Autumn Programs or want to learn more about the 4-H Program in Pamlico County contact Kait Neeland at (252) 745-4121, or kait_neeland@ncsu.edu, or check us out online at pamlico.ces.ncsu.edu.