Sustaining Organic Living holds ‘Space’ week summer session

Instructor and co-owner Rene Pollard shows a student how to create his own “moon rock” during this week’s educational session hosted by Sustainable Organic Living in Imperial.

IMPERIAL – Offering kids something educational along with a chance to stay out of the summer heat, Sustaining Organic Living hosted a Space Week summer session that ran July 17-20. The mini-camp allowed attendees of all ages to participate in educational crafts and learn about different aspects of space, the galaxy, and solar system.

Sustaining Organic Living is an agricultural cooperative that offers fresh, organic produce to the community. The group also offers workshops to educate people on the process of cultivating and maintaining organic gardens of their own.

In the “Space” camp, children were divided up into age groups with the younger attendees ages 1-7 at a morning session 10 to 11:30 a.m. with parents supervising the craft portion. The older kids attended the afternoon session from 1 to 3 p.m.

The first topic taught was constellations, as Sustaining Organic Living’s co-owner, Rene Pollard, discussed background information to build on the children’s prior knowledge. Then Pollard introduced all the different constellations and showed the children where they are located in the sky. Following this, the kids created their own constellations out of marshmallows and pretzels, which also doubled as a snack.

On the second day of the camp, the morning session students learned a variation on the topic on constellations, to fit their academic level.

The afternoon session picked up by engaging kids with on a hands-on craft made of modeling clay in which children created black Play-Doh to represent space and the black areas contained in the universe. Pollard gave a brief lesson on space and black holes to close out the session. The older children also picked up where their previous lesson on constellations left off, by “growing” star crystals out of Borax and water.

“The activities we set out to accomplish were meant to be hands-on and engage these children on the aspects of space, to celebrate the anniversary of the moon landing from Apollo 11,” said Pollard.

On the third day of the summer sessions, both age groups built rockets to simulate the combustible reaction needed to propel rockets and space shuttles into space. The younger children used Alka-Seltzer and water to make their rocket shoot up into the air, while the older kids used Mentos mouth mints with Diet Coke to create a stronger reaction that propelled their rockets even higher.

“We had the students build rockets as a way to lead up to how the astronauts made it to the moon, so we could explore the materials the astronauts brought back to earth,” Pollard said.

The final day involved the children playing with moon sand and moon rocks, items that were later discussed in more detail by Pollard as they created their own “moon rocks” to take home.

Sustaining Organic Living will host another camp week July 24, and a science week beginning August 7 to finish of their schedule of summer sessions.