Monday, September 28, 2009

The Rocket Legacy

I was just looking for a post I thought I'd published, about what the Rocket Phase of Ezra's caused to set in motion. But I can't find it, so even if it's here somewhere, I think I'll recap. Ezra claims he's "done with rockets," though he still uses his Nerf rocket launcher, and still says he wants to go to Cape Canaveral. I think he still wants to be a Rocket Scientist, too, though I haven't asked him lately. These days he's all about weaponry and self-defense.

In any case, the rocket phase started with YouTube, as previously posted. From that, he got into model rockets, memorized every Space Shuttle ever launches, developed an interest in Florida, learned a lot about planets/astronomy, learned countdowns in four or five languages, and developed a slight interest in whichever country was launching (for example, Japan or India). He also memorized about 20 countdowns, along with the static, background noise, accents, mistakes, etc.!

He also set up his Rocket Party (see post) and planned an entire 2-3 hour event with guests, snacks, Q & A, and lots of artwork.

Oh, and his drawing really took off!! With his Doodle Pro last summer ('08) he drew thousands of space shuttles just on our one-month camping trip. He also drew many with marker, and became an *excellent* drawing artist, in mine and many other people's opinions. He had many drawings up at the St. Paul Art Crawl, and he had his own painting booth out in the hall for the event, painting rockets for a crowd!

He also participated in the A-Z Gallery Art Show - he entered a drawing of Atlantis, I think.

He learned a lot about chemistry and physics by asking friends and relatives about rocket fuel, propulsion, etc.

He has been saving up change he finds around the house, to help us pay for a trip to Cape Canaveral.

He got a huge package in the mail from a family friend who works for NASA - got tons of merchandise.

Pretending to be an astronaut was his favorite passtime for over a year. He had a space suit we found for $6 at the thrift store (see photo at bottom of blog). He wore it almost *every day*, and developed his acting and "hamming" skills. He also obviously attracted plenty of attention and got into *many* fascinating conversations with adults about space shuttles, space, etc..

More recently, he exchanged letters with Bob Cabana, director of Kennedy Space Center. He wrote Bob a letter that I think was about 4 pages (dictated). Bob also sent him all kinds of photos, stickers, etc. (Turns out Bob is the son of a couple my parents know).

He took a NASA class last spring. He was too young for the class, but they let him in because he was so enthusiastic. This also led him to take "Blow it Up!" - a class at the Science Museum of Minnesota this summer.

Oh, and also last winter he started saying he wanted to learn math "because you need math to be an aerospace engineer." So he started asking lots of math questions, and we got him a workbook.

He also got into some great music and movies that had to do with space. Two of his grandparents bought him "Hail, Columbia!" for the holidays last year, for example, and for a long time he was really into the song "Rocket Ship" and would go around the house singing it. Oh, and he also got really into the religious song "On Eagle's Wings" after watching a sad video about the Columbia explosion set to music.

Oh! And I almost forgot - he started learning to read by trying to read the names of the space shuttles, and needing to retype them into the box on YouTube.

That's all I can think of right now, on a very distracted Monday morning. But I think so far it's a great list - and it shows how one thing can lead to another if a child isn't distracted from going in whatever direction he chooses!

1 comment:

  1. This really is an amazing post. I had no idea how far he'd pursued the rocket interest. He is already better at networking and finding information than most adults.

    My favorite Ezra rocket story: you told me at one of the campgrounds you stayed at last summer, he took to hanging out near the outhouse (I think) and chanting "5. . .4. . .3. . .2. . .1. . .Blast-off!" or some such countdown simulation, a very canny way of attracting friendly grown-ups who might share his rocket interest and be able to converse with him on the topic.

    I miss that smile of his, I have to say. That beautiful, open-to-the-world smile.