How Can You Help Your Child Learn About Space Exploration?
Does your child have an interest in outer space? Take a look at how you can help your child learn more about astronomy and explore a future career in the field with a trip to a museum.
Visit an Aerospace Museum
What better place to learn about the world of space travel than a museum devoted to the subject? Not only does an aerospace museum provide plenty of expert information, but this type of educational environment also offers a first-hand way to explore and make discoveries.
While there are a variety of types of experiences and exhibits that can help your child learn, areas of interest to astronauts-in-the-making may include:
- The Apollo moon landings. From the technology behind early rockets to humankind's first steps on the moon, an Apollo exhibit can help your child to understand the history of space exploration better.
- Real rockets. How often does your child get to see real-life rockets up close? Chances are not a lot — if ever. An aerospace museum gives children the chance to view these engineering marvels for themselves, not just in the pages of a book.
- The Hubble Space Telescope. Space explorers are not always astronauts. Some scientists explore the stars and planets using technology, such as the Hubble Telescope. An exhibit on the telescope can help children learn about astronomy, technology, and exploration.
- Notable figures in space history. Along with the technology, your child needs to understand the efforts of everyone who helped to make space exploration what it is today. Not only can exhibits about notable figures provide historical context, but they can also inspire budding scientists.
If you're not sure how an aerospace museum visit can help your child, think about what they'll see and how they'll interact with the exhibits. Read on for more information on making the most of your visit.
Discuss the Museum Visit
This step comes in two pieces — a pre- and post-visit discussion. The pre-visit discussion can include anything you think your child will need to better prepare for the museum. This discussion could include rules to follow (such as not touching the exhibition pieces), an overview of the exhibits, or time to ask questions about what your child might see.
After the visit, hold a second discussion. Again, you can include anything you feel your child needs to talk about. If you're not sure where to begin, consider these discussion starters:
- What was your favorite part of the visit? Keep the questions open-ended and avoid anything that has a yes or no answer, such as, "Did you have fun?" Instead, ask your child to think about what they saw and which exhibits they enjoyed most.
- How did the visit change the way you think about space exploration? Your child's new knowledge may totally reframe how they view their potential future career. Ask them to integrate the new knowledge with what they previously thought about a career in this area.
- What famous missions or people did you learn about? This line of questioning will help your child to think critically about how they view the history of space exploration and how they see themselves as part of the field's future.
Another option is to simply ask your child to tell you about what they learned during the visit. This opens up the discussion to focus on anything your child has an interest in.
Create a Project
Now that your child has visited an aerospace museum and discussed the trip with you, it's time to put the information into action. Explore project ideas together, and encourage your child to write a report, create their own biography book, or put together a photo poster of their time at the museum.
Does your child want to learn more about flight and space exploration? Contact the Aerospace Museum of California for more information.