Curious George- Blast Off! View larger

Curious George - Blast Off!

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Curious George is the only one who can restock the International Space Station with supplies, which means he's going up to space in a rocket! Patrons build and launch their own air-powered rockets, which they test and retest (using the engineering design process) to determine the best design.

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  • Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
    Participants Learned from This Activity 
    Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
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Related Programming Resources

Hints for uses in your library If you don’t want to print enough sheets for everyone, have kids use scrap paper to design their own rockets!
Related Links NGSS Standards Guide
Consider showing the video found here prior to this activity (free streaming)
Related Books
[Suggest a book]
Related Books for "Curious George - Blast Off!" Extend with Books Encourage students to use these books as they continue to learn about rockets:
Curious George and the Rocket by H. A. Rey Curious George becomes the first space monkey!
Roaring Rockets by Tony Mitten Join an animal crew as they launch into space.
Rockets and Spaceships by Karen Wallace Photos and pictures explain the basics of space travel.

Reviews

 
Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
Participants Learned from This Activity 
Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
Would Recommend 
05/16/2018

A Useful Little “Craft in a Box” Activity

The “Space Monkey Blast Off!” activity, provided here by PBS Kids, is an almost prototypical example of what we at our library call a “craft in a box”—which is to say, it’s an activity which requires almost zero set up time or planning, and almost zero additional supplies to make work. It’s a complete activity, more or less, which is both transportable and translatable to a number of different environments.

We first used this activity in a space-themed Story Time program. Our local Wal*Mart didn’t carry the larger straws which are recommended for use on the upper half of the rocket, so we rolled small tubes out of paper which worked just as well. This made for an easy Story Time craft, with a couple of caveats: the paper tubes had to be rolled and taped by an adult, and the rockets had to be cut out by adults as well (our Story Time kiddos were not all scissor-safe, and even the reasonably adept ones struggled with the finer details). We also struggled to lay our hands on the corresponding “Curious George” book, which none of our partner libraries had and which was only available on Amazon as an ebook. As a result, we ended up pairing the craft with a number of other books, which worked just as well in the end.

We had some of the printed sheets left over after Story Time, and we let those loose in our Monday Makerspace program. The kids who attend Makerspace tend to be older and reasonably scissor-safe, so they were able to follow the directions and execute the craft start to finish by themselves. We’d also restocked on straws at that time, so we used regular bendy straws for the upper stages and thin coffee-stirrer straws for the lower stages (the bits you blow through).

As the other reviewers have noted, this is not a craft which lends itself to creativity and personalization. It’s simple and straightforward, and easy for that reason, but it won’t offer much of a challenge to advanced learners or older children. It pairs nicely with the “George’s Busy Day: Blast Off” game on the PBS Kids website (http://pbskids.org/curiousgeorge/busyday/rocket/teacher.html), so if your kids are tablet-ready you can easily transition from one thing to the next. The web-based game is not a good fit for most Story Time programs, however (unless you’re running a Digital Story Time program, in which case it miiiight be perfect). If you’re looking for a much more challenging, customizable rocket craft, I recommend the STAR_net Activity Clearinghouse link for “Rocket Car Distance Challenge” (http://clearinghouse.starnetlibraries.org/astronomy-and-space/55-rocket-car-distance-challenge.html).

Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
Participants Learned from This Activity 
Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
Would Recommend 
04/20/2018

Fun!

This is a great activity to include in a Space-themed story time. We added it to a STEAM story time, were we read stories about astronauts. We then asked the kids if they would like their own rockets, and showed them the project. We talked about how, while it wouldn't fly as to the moon (except in our imagination!), it worked a lot like the astronaut rockets did, with force and propulsion. They then made their rockets- with the help of their guardians- and tested them out. They experimented with how they held the rockets and if that made a different in how they flew. Additionally, as another commentator mentioned, the attached template does not allow for creativity, so we used a different rocket design so the kids could color their rockets.

Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
Participants Learned from This Activity 
Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
Would Recommend 
04/17/2018

Lots of Fun for Preschoolers

I used this activity for a STEM Story Time for preschool aged kids. I read two books to the kids, Curious George Discovers Space (ISBN 9780606374453) and Curious George and the Rocket (ISBN 9780544610958).

The activity included a template for a rocket, but it was not conducive to coloring, so I created my own rocket template using a rocket coloring page. Each preschool aged child colored their rocket and then cut it out themselves. Parents were in attendance and helped to build the rocket using the two different sized straws and tape. It is important to get a good seal on the end of the wider straw.

I let the kids practice launching their rockets a few times, then I asked them “How do you launch your rocket if you want it to go far?” and “How do you launch it if you want it to go high?” as suggested by the activity guide. They seemed to have a good idea on how to make it go high, but several tried different techniques to increase their distance (aiming different directions, then blowing harder).

I then gave each child a paperclip and asked them what they thought would happen if we added some “cargo” or weight to the rocket. Their guesses were all over the place and they had fun launching the rocket with the cargo added. My group of kids had mixed results trying to answer the questions “Which design flies farther?” because they would blow harder for the design they wanted to fly farther!

Overall, we didn’t have much luck coming to a consensus on which design worked the best, but the kids were introduced to the terms “engineering design process” and “hypothesis” and they had a blast shooting their rockets all around the library.

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Curious George - Blast Off!

Curious George - Blast Off!

Curious George is the only one who can restock the International Space Station with supplies, which means he's going up to space in a rocket! Patrons build and launch their own air-powered rockets, which they test and retest (using the engineering design process) to determine the best design.