Library goes lunar with science activities

An ‘Apollo Adventure’

Caleb Rayhorn, 8, of Marquette uses cumbersome gloves to attempt certain activities, simulating what astronauts had to go through with their thick gloves. The demonstration was part of Monday’s Apollo Adventure Festival at the Peter White Public Library, put on by the Michigan Science Center. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing came and went on Saturday, but astronomy-related activities for youngsters continue.

The Detroit-based Michigan Science Center came to the Peter White Public Library on Monday for an Apollo Adventure Festival that gave youngsters a chance to take part in hands-on science activities.

“I think everybody knows this is the 50th anniversary of Apollo,” said Sarah Rehborg, head of PWPL Youth Services.

So, the Michigan Science Center’s activities related to space in one way or another, whether it was space travel, the distance between planets, solar energy or another topic.

Rehborg believed these activities fit in well with PWPL’s summer reading program, and hoped kids eventually would check out books about the topic.

Marquette Senior High School sophomores Caitlyn Uinari, left, and Alyssa Letourneau prepare their activity, “Space Rockets,” during Monday’s Apollo Adventure Festival at the Peter White Public Library. The event came to the library courtesy of the Michigan Science Center. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

“Our theme is ‘A Universe of Stories,’ and that’s perfect for space,” Rehborg said. “I think most kids love space. Space is this thing that’s hard to grasp, the concept of it. It’s just so cool.”

One of those cool concepts, rocketry, was demonstrated in the activity titled “Straw Rockets.”

Youngsters weren’t going to launch a Saturn rocket into lunar orbit, but they could at least shoot a small rocket a few feet away.

Marquette Senior High School sophomore Caitlyn Uinari and fellow MSHS sophomore Alyssa Letourneau led the rocketry demonstration.

The kids assembled their own rockets, attaching fins to them.

A demonstration involving tie-dye beads and ultraviolet light takes place Monday at the Peter White Public Library. The Michigan Science Center brought the Apollo Adventure Festival to the library to educate kids about space. From left are Rachel Holman of Negaunee; Jack Herman, 5, of Sands; and Jael Elenbaas, 6, of Harvey. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

“The idea is to make a rocket out of straw and construction paper and tape, and launch it using a tube of copper and air pressure,” Letourneau said.

In the “Astronaut Tools Challenge,” kids had to perform activities wearing heavy, cumbersome gloves similar to the ones astronauts used in space.

It didn’t always make for an easy time.

In one challenge activity, they had to string three washers onto a cord, and then tie the cord to secure the washers. For a bonus, they had to untie the cord.

In the “What’s the Impact?” activity, they threw items such as marbles and rocks onto sand, looking at the craters they made.

The results weren’t as if an asteroid or comet collided with the moon’s surface, but at least one crater impressed its young maker.

“Mine! Look at mine!” exclaimed 8-year-old Caleb Rayhorn of Marquette.

The youngsters also could make different sizes of craters depending on the height from which they dropped their items.

To demonstrate the “Expanding Universe,” the activity involved a balloon and balloon pump, with stars on the balloon moving farther apart as the balloon expanded.

The stars, however, weren’t changing size.

In “Space Radiation,” the demonstration showed how tie-dye molecules in beads changed shape in response to ultralight light, which caused their colors to change as well.

The next lunar-related program at the PWPL will be “Moon Day” on Thursday in the Community Room.

Kids under age 7 will meet from 11 a.m. to noon while those age 8 and up will meet from 1 to 2 p.m.

For more information, visit www.pwpl.info or call 906-228-9510.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.