This space craft was developed to accompany an exhibit at the Strategic Air and Space Museum called “Great Balls of Fire.”
The fireball is essentially a bean bag with a tail… and a good story.
We used red and orange ribbon for the tail.
As well as gold curling ribbon for some sparkle.
We used both thin and thick rubber bands.
And pinto beans worked well.
We filled some small plastic bags with the beans as the core of our fireballs. We “double bagged” our beans to reduce the chance of rupture. Much of this was done ahead of time to minimize the time to assemble the fireball.
Soft brown cotton fabric was cut into square pieces for the exterior of the fireball.
Sharpies could be used to make patterns on the fabric: craters, scorch marks, regmaglypts, or what have you.
The smaller rubber band held the fabric around the baggie of beans. Then the lengths of ribbon would be tied into a big knot at one end. The knot was poked into the opening and then the large rubber band was wrapped over the fabric containing the knot of ribbon several times securing it tightly in place.
Michael has a nice personal collection of meteorites and would often give an engaging presentation on the subject first, answer questions, and then the guests could do the activity.
Once the fireballs were all assembled, the fun ensued. We also provided suggestions (see below) for games so they could play with their new toy in groups.
Orbitz – A number of friends are asked to “spread out” within a large playing area. The Fireball is thrown between the players, much like a regular game of “toss.” The difference however, is that when someone misses a catch, they sit out. The last person standing is the winner.
Fireball – A game of “Hot Potato” with a flaming meteor! Get as many friends together as you can, and stand in a circle. Select one other person to be the “DJ,” and to turn on a song from a nearby radio or music player. Players toss the Fireball up and over to other players until the DJ suddenly and randomly shuts off the music. Whoever touched the Fireball last is out, and becomes the DJ for the next turn. Continue until just one person remains. They are the “King of the Solar System.”
Meteor Crater – Find as many shoe boxes or baskets as you can (different sizes are OK). Remove the lids, and on the sides of the boxes, write numerical values- 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, with a marker (one value on each box). Decide upon an open play area, and place the boxes 7-15 feet away from a selected “toss zone.” You can either place the higher valued boxes further away, or randomly arrange the boxes as you see fit. Standing at the toss zone, each player tosses their Fireball three times towards the “craters,” and if they make it inside, adds the different values. This is repeated with each player a total of three times (three turns of three tosses). The values are added, and whoever has the most points wins.
Moon Shot – [Caution, before starting this activity, make sure you are in a large open area outside, with only people who are playing the same game. Ask your parent or guardian permission before playing]. Grabbing the Fireball by the tail, the player swings it around at their side, and flings it high into the sky. Watch out for falling meteors! Each player takes a turn, and sees who can hurl the Fireball highest into the air.