April 7, 2021

How do the Space at Home kits actually get created?

Many have asked how do the Higher Orbits Space at Home Kits actually get created? While in many cases people will say “you don’t really want to know how the sausage gets made,” this process is a bit more fun so I thought I would share.

How A Kit Begins

We’ve found it helps to have a central “theme” for each kit. This helps us to define what activities are part of the kit and what space swag items to include. The theme gives the kit a bit of identity and helps it be differentiated from other kits. Once that theme is established, we reach out to our incredible graphics designer (who was recently awarded the 2020 Outstanding  Volunteer Award!) Brian who creates the patches that are unique to each kit. (We then get those on order asap as stickers for each kit!)

Next Michelle starts to reach out to our various wonderful team members who lead activities to find out what each of them wants to do. (That’s the part this is underway right now for the next kit!) These activities are sometimes specific to the theme of the kit but not always. They are mostly STEM/STEAM focused but also some arts & crafts fun. Most are space themed but not all. One thing is common though, they are all activities we and the students have fun with!

Once the activities are established the items for that activity must be ordered (boy oh boy you should see the number of boxes that show up!) and the page(s) for the Activity Booklet must be created. The Activity Booklet would not be possible without our extraordinary intern Katy T! Katy pours her heart and efforts into each of these booklets to make sure they are inspiring, engaging, and fun! (Honestly – we couldn’t create each Space at Home experience without her!)

One of the “activities” we have started to incorporate into every kit is “Celebrate Every Day!” We think the world can use a bit more positivity and we love the theme of National Day Calendar. Plus it is fun for us to find connections to the various days that have a space slant to them! This month we’ve had a blast celebrating First Contact Day (a big hit with all our Trekkie friends) and we are looking forward to everyone celebrating National Look UP At the Sky day on April 14th! And these are just two of several we’ve celebrated and plan to celebrate.

How to get a kit

Some of you may wonder why kit availability is scheduled like it is… well since we really are a one-person-assembly-line and we don’t exactly have a warehouse of stuff to just pull from the shelves, we have to set a limited amount of time for the kits to sell so we can then make sure we have enough of every item we need for the kit to create the kits themselves. Kits are generally on sale for 10 days – two weeks but sales end ~2 weeks prior to the kit activities beginning because we need time to build and mail the kits… but more about that in a future blog!

Now that we have our awesome new website (thanks to Silvernail Web Design!)  you will always be able to find a link to the latest available Space at Home kit on our webpage in the Space at Home tab!

https://higherorbits.org/higher-orbits-space-at-home/

Stay tuned for part 2 of how the Higher Orbits Space at Home kits are made!

About the author

Michelle Lucas Founder & President of Higher Orbits Michelle spent 10 years working at NASA primarily in International Space Station (ISS) Flight Control Operations Planning and as an Astronaut Instructor in the Daily Operations Group. Her passion for inspiring students led to extensive work with other organizations in STEM outreach. She then decided to form Higher Orbits to continue to work to inspire students about the wonders of STEM through spaceflight.

Michelle Lucas


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