Out of this World STEM Activities
By Rachel Wells
After successfully landing on Mars on February 18th, the Perseverance Rover has been making headlines. According to the NASA website the main job of the rover is to “seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith (broken rock and soil) for possible return to Earth.” Since Perseverance took its first drive on the red planet on March 4th, it has been able to send over 7,000 images back to Earth for scientists to study.
In celebration of the Perseverance rover landing, we have four awesome STEM activities that are a surefire way to get your child excited for all things outer space! STEM activities are known for providing children with opportunities to practice problem solving skills while making connections to the real world – and what a fun time to grow your child’s interest in outer space.
This activity can be done with rocks and chalk or with pipe cleaners and beads. Grab a book about outer space or look online and find some images of constellations (if they can be seen from your house even better). Head outside and use rocks and chalk to make the constellations on your sidewalk.
To make straw rockets you will need plastic straws, tape, plastic milkshake straws (slightly larger than the regular plastic straws), paper, scissors, and markers.
On a piece of paper, draw color, and cut out a rocket. Cut a piece of the milkshake straw, and tape it to the back of the rocket. You will also need to tape the front side of the straw shut so it is completely sealed. Place your other plastic straw into the large milkshake straw, and blow into it to launch your rocket! Try blow it at different angles to see how you can make your rocket go the farthest.
Homemade Moon Dough
Ingredients needed: baking soda, water, black food coloring, and black and silver glitter
Pour baking soda into a bowl and slowly add water until the baking soda can stick together and form a ball. Add in black food coloring and black and silver glitter. It really looks like moon rocks!
Engineer a Space Lander
The challenge is for your child to engineer a Mars lander that will keep 2 robot astronauts (Lego people work great) inside a cup when dropped. Students can use cups, straws, index cards, paper plates, marshmallows, cotton balls, and tape to build their lander. Have your child test their lander’s shock absorption abilities from different heights and make changes along the way to help their robots astronauts land as safety as possible on Mars.
There are so many ways to explore outer space without even leaving your home. Which outer space activity will you work on first?
To learn more about the Mars rover check out link below: