Children enjoying science with presentations, demonstrations and workshops at the David Dunlop Observatory (DDO) in Richmond Hill on Sunday, May 24, 2015 was an informative afternoon. I had the privilege to do a workshop at the "What’s Up In Space” Camp and STEM Contest."
The AstroNuts Kids Space Club began one night during the summer of 2009. Ray Bielecki’s son Brett was 7 years of age. Brett was quite the space enthusiast. Ray built Brett’s space ship under his basement stairs. The ship had space models, monitors, twinkling Christmas lights and other gizmos that became their window to the cosmos.
Brett invited a few friends over and the adventures began with the imaginations of the children. Soon more friends came over to the point that the space ship wasn’t large enough to accommodate the many visitors. Over time, Ray converted his basement into a space station along with the spaceship they titled “Mercury Spaceship 2.”
Ray started the "What’s Up In Space” Camp and STEM Contest to get more children interested in space and to give them activities to spark their interest. May 24th was the fourth annual Space Camp and the first one at the DDO.
My friend Brian Ewenson, a space educator drove from Wisconsin to do a 15 minute talk. Another friend, Melissa Battler from the University of Western Ontario also gave a talk. I taught children how to make an end effector, the apparatus at the end of the Canadarm that snares cargo ships, satellites and anything else bound for the International Space Station. It’s made using Styrofoam cups, string and masking tape. The design is not mine. It was created by Dr. Gregory Vogt, Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Baylor University when he worked for NASA in 1999.
It was a wonderful day with storm troopers (the kid in me had to have a photo), tours of the planetarium, and skype messages from Canadian astronauts B and Chris Hadfield.
See http://www.astronutskidsspaceclub.com/home-base/ to learn more about the AstroNuts.