Rocket science made fun

Updated: 17 April, 2020 10:17 IST | Nasrin Modak Siddiqi | Mumbai

Launch rockets, light up stars and constellations, or train to be an astronaut from home with NASA STEM.

For over a month now, I've learnt that keeping children occupied during the lockdown period is no rocket science. Even better is our latest find that makes 'rocket science' fun for children. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)'s Pre-Service Teacher Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Digital Learning Network (DLN) symposium is a great way to keep children hooked for hours at a stretch. From building a moon habitat to solving space puzzles, the website has age-appropriate information and tasks. Every link is a new discovery but what's most fascinating is that each STEM challenge is based upon real experiences during human and robotic exploration of the solar system.

Since the site has been around for some time now, there is a whole repository of things to do and see. As a parent of two, I felt there was so much information on it that even I wasn't aware of (despite being well-read); what appealed the most was the way in which the information is shared through games, simulations and DIY models — which doesn't make it boring at all. Even food is made interesting — think solar cookies made with frostings or whipping up edible asteroids with potatoes and cheese. The older ones learn about earth science with their smartphones or join the hunt for gravitational waves; even better, learn how to be a professional astronaut.

Inspired by the activities on the website, my six-year-old is keen on starting a moon blog, and the younger one wants me to build a cloud mobile with her. While a few activities do require a printer and other materials — but if you, like me, can whip a few jugaad-type alternatives (drawing on sheets, cutting up old newspapers etc) — you might just end up with a couple of homegrown astronauts set for launch from your house.

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First Published: 17 April, 2020 08:56 IST

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