Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Groovy Lab in a Box - Lunar Launch

Groovy Lab in a Box - Lunar Launch

Spring 2014 Toys
Ages: 8 & Up
Price: $28.95

Lunar Launch provides everything your child needs to investigate, design, rethink, experiment and ultimately design a model rocket. This is not an afternoon activity-in-a-kit; you and your child will find a series of experiments to conduct and explore together. It's fairly structured in its implementation, so it's best to follow the flow of things. The first activity is a small exploration of energy: kids place a bit of an antacid tablet in a small plastic canister with water, and observe the reaction. The description in the book of what happens is short, but includes discussion of Newton's Laws of Inertia. We went on to create a balloon rocket, and then a small paper rocket we powered by breathing through a straw, then measuring distance.

The kit encourages experimentation, observation, reflection and note-taking. Each experiment encourages the young scientist to change something in his/her study, and perform it again, but the child is the one who gets to decide how to change it. By design, every child who plays with this will find different outcomes, because they'll do different experiments. One child may make a paper rocket with six fins instead of four, another may decide to wrap tape around the rocket to make it more sleek. Kids will learn best when they ask their own questions and try to figure out how to make the best rocket. And yes, learners are encouraged to share their rockets online with others.

Lunar Launch models science processes, and teaches kids how to track and record in a scientific manner. We are already looking forward to seeing our kids' "brainstorm" drawings, as they continue to refine their rocket to their "Final Design Plan," and ultimately testing their rocket (which will use the small plastic canister, water and an antacid tablet for power).

For children 12 and older, this kit would be perfect as a solo activity, or one to be done with friends. Younger ones will need an adult's help and participation in going through the activities.

Everything needed (including tape and scissors) is included. There are additional design challenges offered, and recommendations for how to expand the kit to accommodate several kids.

Barbara Chamberlin   ©2014 Parents' Choice
Barbara Chamberlin researches and develops educational software and media at New Mexico State University's Learning Games Lab. She and her husband have two boys.

Look for this product at:
Groovy Lab in a Box, a product of Academics in a Box Inc

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