In This Issue: Space Gets Busy; Being Thankful; Big-Screen Book
Shuttle to the Space Station After a two-day commute, six U.S. astronauts arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) bearing gifts: 20,000 pounds of spare parts and other goodies, including Amelia Earhart's scarf and a stuffed blue toy spider. During the Atlantis crew's 11-day mission, there will be three spacewalks—and numerous tweets. In a message on Wednesday, one ISSer tweeted: "Atlantis arriving today... Always amazing sight out window. Will be good to see our friends!" Share with your child: Astronauts carry high school football jerseys, plush mascots and other items on the shuttle to honor their alma mater, hometown or meaningful people, places or things.
THINK: Imagine that you are an astronaut traveling to space. What important items would you want to bring with you? Explain the significance of each.
Visit the mission timeline. Pick a few tasks and write each one on separate pieces of paper. Then help your child put them into the right sequence.
Mark the shuttle's launch date, 11/16, on a calendar. Tell your child the mission will last 11 days. Help him or her count down to the shuttle's return.
Meanwhile, on Mars: Spirit Rover caught in a sand trap: How on earth will scientists at NASA headquarters make it move? After about six months of being stuck, efforts to help Spirit escape began slowly on November 17. The little-rover-that-could stopped less than 1 second into its first attempt. NASA says that it could take weeks or even months to free Spirit, and even that is uncertain. Still, being stuck didn't crush its spirit—the rover continued to send valuable data back to scientists.
See artists' drawings of the Mars rovers and the Mars landscape. Explain that the rovers are there to help scientists learn more about Mars. ASK: What tools might the rovers need to send information back to Earth?
And on the Moon: Spacecraft that crashed into a crater on its surface revealed evidence that there is water on the moon. The October lunar crash landing kicked up 25 gallons of water—in the forms of ice and vapor. The discovery had some experts and dreamers talking about moon exploration; with a supply of drinking water, astronauts could set up a base camp.
ASK: Is the moon or Mars closer to the Earth? How many moons does Mars have?
Give Thanks Get your kids thinking about ways to give thanks by giving to others. Encourage them to research organizations in your area that help feed the hungry. Share this statistic: A federal studyindicates that more than 49 million Americans are at risk of hunger. That includes nearly 17 million children.
ASK: What are some ways that we can help others throughout the year?
ASK: What are you most thankful for? Have your child draw a picture that includes his or her favorite things.
ASK: Who are you thankful for? Help your child write a note to a teacher, friend or family member to tell that person why he or she means so much.
Making pie? Have your child draw two circles on a piece of paper; the pumpkin pie will have four slices and chocolate cream will have six slices. ASK: How many total pieces of pie are there? If we eat three pieces of the chocolate pie and all of the pumpkin pie, how many slices will be left?
Have your child identify the different shapes in the pie drawings. ASK: How many different shapes do you see and what are they? How many triangles? How many circles?
A Fox Tale When kids first met Mr. Fox, he was the main character of a children's book by Roald Dahl, Fantastic Mr. Fox. Kids and parents thought Mr. F and friends were so fantastic that the book became a bestseller—and now, an animated movie.
If your child hasn't read the book, suggest that you read it together. ASK: Do you think this would make a good movie? Why or why not? Which parts of the story would you most like to see onscreen?