CAMP COVID: The Week in STEM! (Get out your calendar and let astronauts and scientists do some of the work for you!)

This Week in STEM - books to read about space

This week in STEM! Okay friends, I’m starting something new. A way for us all to keep our eyes peeled on cool STEM events as they happen. You can add these events to your schedule and prep a little with some dinner table talk. I’ll make it easy for us all and spell it out below!

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft and its booster are transported to the Site 31 launch pad April 6 for launch preparations. Copyright NASA


Imagine this! An American astronaut is right now living in quarantine in Kazakhstan. And he’s doing this for one reason: to be able to blast off in Space this Thursday. New Englander Chris Cassidy is headed for the International Space Station. This is a great topic for kids of all ages. Here are resources and ideas to bring this event to life! Plus we can all watch the launch. Then on Friday at 10:45 a.m., Chris Cassidy along with Jessica Meir (another Miane-ah) and Andrew Morgan will have a LIVE press conference from ISS. I’ll put both on the schedule below.

How to talk about this with the kids:

1) sign up for International Space Station Text/E-mail alerts. You enter in your address, they send you an alert when ISS will be visible for your location. Every time we look at ISS flying over, I feel my worries melt away. It reminds of what we humans are truly capable of and I LOVE IT! Here’s NASA’s page on all things ISS like details on the mission, launch schedule, and that’s also where you can watch what’s happening on board ISS, including space walks! The STEM on Station section is awesome with video demonstrations and opportunities to interact.

2) About Kazakhstan… um, where is it exactly? I go right to Google and type in “Teach me About Kazakhstan” and a wealth of factoids appear, including the BBC’s country profile and there are tons of tutorials for common phrases in Kazakh. Google Maps and Google Translate are awesome tools as well. Goes without saying that kids need a grown up to help them with wide open Google Search.

3) Why is an American astronaut launching to ISS from Kazakhstan to begin with? Well, NASA has been working with the Russian Space Agency for more than a decade to ferry American Astronauts to and from Space. This happened after NASA ended the space shuttle program. I go over that a bit in my book ELON MUSK: A MISSION TO SAVE THE WORLD because one of Elon’s main goals for SpaceX is to have astronauts launch from American soil. Space X is on our STEM schedule this week, too!

TIP: Bring up one point per night at the dinner table. You can even bring this blog with you!

Astronaut in Space ISS Jessica Meir

Maine Astronaut Jessica Meir aboard the International Space Station. Copyright NASA


The International Space Stations receives supplies when capsules are launched into space towards the ISS. It is a fascinating process to watch. Once the supplies have been unpacked, ISS astronauts pack it back up with things they need to send back to Earth, like completed science projects and even waste. This Tuesday SpaceX’s supply capsule, called the Dragon will leave ISS (undocking and release) and come back to Earth. You can watch it LIVE. NASA does an AWESOME job of explaining what is happening and why. That will begin 2:45 pm EST on Tuesday April 7th. I’ll add it to the schedule below.

This article outlines everything Dragon is bringing back to Earth including 4,000 lbs of scientific equipment. And for upper middle school and teens, check out this article about growing human organs is space, Fascinating!


Tuesday night is the perfect night to peek outside at the supermoon. Here’s a Lunar Scientist who explains via YouTube video why that’s so special and how it happens. This video is part of the space agency’s “NASA At Home” rollout for all home learners and home teachers! They have an awesome list of NASA-related daily events to check out. And if your quarantine means you can’t see the moon, check out this LIVE feed.


Monday, April 6th – The nearly almost completely full supermoon

Tuesday, April 7th

8:45 a.m. EST (subject to change because rocketry and space is hard, timeline shift) SpaceX Dragon departs the International Space Station

Night Time – Supermoon at its fullest

Wednesday, April 8th – Check out NASA At Home Offerings

Thursday, April 9th – 4:05 a.m. EST (I realize that’s early but replay available) Rocket launch to send astronauts to ISS.

4:00 PM EST – Check out this LIVE webinar which will guide us through answering this question – How much popcorn could a solar telescope pop, with the sun’s rays gathered on its mirror to crank up the heat!? A physicist will be on hand to answer questions.

Friday, April 10th – 10:45 a.m. LIVE from the ISS, talk back with astronauts!


I’ve put this list of awesome Space Books here on my page!

Youngest Readers through Middle School and Teen:

Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet by Curtis Manley and Jessica Lanan

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca

What Miss Mitchell Saw by Hayley Barrett and illustrated by Diana Sudyka

Space!: The Universe as You’ve Never Seen it Before by DK

Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson by Katherine Johnson

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. My kids adore this book. Audio edition is awesome, as well!

The Disasters by M.K. England

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

The Countdown Conspiracy by Katie Slivensky (you can see how much we are loving this book here)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (This Book deeply inspired Elon Musk as a kid)

And the book I wrote, Elon Musk: A Mission to Save the World

Plus a whole host of e-books from NASA!

Okay, friends, Happy week of STEM!


P.S. In just a week, my debut picture book with Harper Collins will be published. I can’t think of a better moment to introduce you to a brave hero who courageously saved the words that built America. I am talking about the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and more. This man’s TRUE and long forgotten actions inspired me to be brave during a tough time in my life and I hope they’ll inspire you! You can pre-order now. All pre-orders through PRINT: A Bookstore will be entered to win a signed bundle of all four of my books!

Rescuing the Declaration of Independence: How We Almost Lost the Words that Built America