Sunday, March 19, 2017
March 20 - Extraterrestrial Abduction Day
Confession time: I live in southern NM, I have been to Roswell many times, and I have never once visited the UFO Museum there. (I have, however, visited the art museum, which is quite nice!)
Are aliens real? Do they ever abduct humans? I know what I think, I'll let you decide what you think - but however you decide, they sure can be fun to read about!
An old favorite read-aloud of mine! Shirley and Moe are preparing for a nice family dinner when an alien ship lands in the backyard. Moe is convinced death and destruction are imminent, while Shirley shows the "nice boys" to the bathroom, and then invites them to join their dinner. Who will be proven right?
The droll humor, gamut of reactions, and cute little bug-like aliens make this a crowd (or child) pleaser. (I like to read the aliens' lines in a robot voice. I don't know why, but it works.)
What would you serve alien visitors - and the entire armed forces - for dinner? Look over some of your favorite family recipes, and decide which translate well into large amounts. Why not plan a dinner party or outdoor barbecue? Invite the neighbors you met on Lips Appreciation Day, family, friends from church, or just people you haven't seen in a while.
Man your battle stations! A fleet of spaceships is heading this way, and each extraterrestrial crew is stranger than the next.
The Earth seems to be in for trouble (Moe was right!) until the aliens see something that causes them to turn tail and run. What was it? Our kids, of course! (Some versions include a mirror on the last page).
One of the things I like about this story and illustrations is all the different forms the aliens can appear in. Work together to create a make-your-own-alien kit. Cut out various body shapes from paper, felt, or foam. Add different appendages, antennae, heads, spikes, stripes and spots, whatever you can think of. Toss in some feathers and googly eyes, and put it all in a plastic container - instant travel craft for boring waiting rooms!
Design some new underpants to attract the aliens! Use construction paper, glue, markers, maybe even some lace and ribbon. If you really want to go all out, hang them outside so the aliens can see them, and give the neighbors something new to talk about (those crazy home schoolers again!)
So, ARE there aliens? Can life exist on other planets?
Let's start with a list of what a planet needs in order to sustain life (as we understand life, anyway):
- water, in liquid form at least some of the time
- be in the habitable zone of its star (basically, not too close, not too far, and still able to rotate)
- protection from radiation (what does Earth have for that?)
- an atmosphere that holds in oxygen and/or carbon dioxide
Can you come up with other requirements? Of course, this assumes that the life forms follow the model of life we have on our planet. Imagine other ways life could grow and develop without, for example, land to attach itself to.
It makes sense that aliens don't do math the same way we do, right? Some fun ways to play around with that:
* We generally use a "base ten" system - ten numeric symbols (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9). Why? What other systems can you find (binary, Mayans used base 20, time is counted in 12's, 24's and 60's, music in 2, 4, or 8, etc.)
* Can you make up your own symbols for different numbers? Draw them out in an answer key, then make up math problems using them for each other to solve.
Check out books, visit internet sites, and talk together about the possibility of life on other planets. What's your final opinion: real or not real? Prepare a persuasive speech, outlining at least three main points to support your stance, and giving details. If you have two or more kids, see if you can get them to take opposite viewpoints, and stage a friendly debate! (If you can get your kids to disagree peacefully, you have earned your parenting gold star).
* Imagine that a friendly alien took you aboard its ship. What kinds of adventures would you have? Write and illustrate your own story - just make sure you are home in time for supper!
* Develop your own alien language, making up words for those you use everyday. See if you can use them when you are out and about, as a sort of secret code!
Two of our three favorite alien movies seem to involve the same actor. In order from youngest suggested audience to oldest:
and then there's E.T....Lilo and Stitch...Star Trek...Star Wars...Escape to Witch Mountain...Galaxy Quest...
Make sure your kids know this classic! It's culture!
Other Web Sites to Explore
http://amomssparetime.blogspot.com/2015/03/review-mars-evacuees-by-sophia-mcdougall.html (A fun chapter-a-night read-aloud! Or check out pretty much anything by Bruce Coville or Adam Rex.)