What could be better than learning about space and sending off our own rockets? Learning about DOGS going in to space and helping send THEM up in to “space”! Today’s brief storybook-inspired science project found us learning about two stray dogs and their incredible journey into space. Then, we designed our own doggie rockets and tested how far we could send them upwards!Learn about the first dogs in space and make your own mini-rockets to take them there! This STEM project is sure to bring your students delight, all while learning about rockets and space race history.

Learning about the Dogs in Space

In Dogs in Space by Vix Southgate and Iris Deppe, we learned about two stray dogs, named Belka and Strelka, who became the first dogs to go in to space. It’s kind of amazing to think that not only can we get humans into space (and onto the moon), but we are able to also train other animals for the difficult conditoins. I loved how the book essentially set up the story as the dogs story, not a “space race” story. Yet, there is a historical overview at the end of the book, and the book about Belka and Strelka itself is inspiring. It ends with the reminder that if stray dogs can end up in space, we can surely do hard things too!

Dogs’ Straw Mini-Rockets Activity

To get started, we had to create some adorable doggies that would go up into space. My daughter also wanted to let our family head up in a rocket, so she also drew our family! (I don’t have a photo of her family portrait, but it is her treasured rocket now.

We then used a straw as our launch pad and blew with all our might at the end of the count down!

It was hard to get the rockets to blast up! This was the perfect time for discussion.

  • Why wouldn’t the rockets go very high?
  • How could we eliminate the problems?
  • How high could we get the rockets to go?
  • How much force would be needed to get the doggies to space?

In some respects, getting to space is completely beyond a first grader’s comprehension. She has no concept of distance and the sky! Then again, neither do I. Discussing the difficulties helped us understand just how remarkable it was that Belka and Strelka could take a space journey and return safely more than 50 years ago.

Check out our video to see just how much fun we had with this project!

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Learn about the first dogs in space and make your own mini-rockets to take them there! This STEM project is sure to bring your students delight, all while learning about rockets and space race history.

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Storybook Science

This post about space is a part of the Storybook Science series. Want to see more Storybook Science ideas? Click over to Inspiration Laboratories for the fourth year of the annual Storybook Science series!

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