Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Space Camp

My six year old went to a local two-day space camp. The five year old was signed up but a summer bug kept her home. When my six year old was three she knew all of the planets, including newly discovered ones in the Kuiper Belt. For each planet, she knew the about it’s atmosphere, the number of moons it had, it’s color, it’s temperature and anything else I could remember from frantic internet searches.

Being a proud dad, I made her perform like a new dog. Sit, shake hands and tell me what’s longer: Venus’s day or year. At first, I tried to have adults ask her questions about the solar system but nobody in my family knew enough to ask any questions. I put an end to the question and answer period when my mom asked, “Is the moon made out of cheese?” Even at three, my girl knew that was a stupid question. My mom didn’t know.

After awhile, I couldn’t remember any more facts about the solar system. I would look up more facts and stuff my head full of them. By the time we had a chance to talk about all I had learned the facts all fell out of my head. Little bits of information like who was the first person to walk on the moon, how many rings does Saturn have and how wide is Olympus Mons (it’s a mountain on mars) lay littered on the floor of our house. My wife checked out space books from the library for me to look up facts. That didn’t work so well so my wife checked out books for us to read to my daughter. My daughter noticed in one of the books that Olympus Mons (I brought it up in the last sentence on purpose – it’s all coming together now) appeared to be too flat in the picture because NASA claimed it was the tallest mountain in the solar system. You can use that bit of trivia around the dinner table tonight if you want. My daughter had me email NASA to argue the height. She asked the question and I just typed. NASA actually emailed back with facts and figures.

By five, her interests moved on to Tinker Bell’s fairy friends and much of the planet information was lost. When my wife suggested this space camp, I didn’t think my six year old would be interested but I was wrong. (I should listen to my wife more. I’m not going to but I should). My daughter had designed her own space backpack with radios and keys to get back into the space station. She created a space lab with it’s own rocket on a swivel, just in case the lab needs to fly around. Luckily, this time my daughter can read. Now my wife can check out books for my daughter to read to herself.


The Logisitician said...

Having no children, I have often mused about how much of an education I have missed by not having them. Apart from watching them grow up and such, there is also the other world in which they find themselves involved, which naturally spills over into your world. Additionally, they are exposed to updates in education that we other baby boomers are not exposed to, or interested in keeping up with.

Aaron Brand said...

I hope NASA is still around in 20 years if your daughter is still interested in space by then.

Kavar said...

It's always good to find kids who interested in books and learning about things (for me, it was dinosaurs...I still have a dozen books on them on my shelf). Not enough kids these days are shown the value of knowledge - particularly in books. That sort of interest usually can't be taught be a school, it has to come from the family. I'm just always happy to see parents support their kids and the quest for knowledge.

And I have to say, when you're six, it's the coolest thing in the world to be able to pull out knowledge that the grown-ups don't have.

Aaron Brand said...

I'm glad you got the point I was making though. The government wants too much control in our lives, whether its energy policies, education, housing, or whatever.

Good point about NASA though. Let's just say I hope the space program is still alive and viable; there's so much potential out there. It would probably be best if that became part of the corporate domain as well.

Zombie Money said...

Space camp is awesome :)

Barbara said...

I wished they would have had space camp when I was a kid, but even if they did, they probably wouldn't have allowed girls in. I remember being fascinated by the moon walk. I hope your other daughter gets to go someday.