Space: the final frontier. These are the adventures of the Portland Kinderschule Space Explorers Week. Its five-day mission: to explore our solar system, to seek out new life and prepare for the eclipse, to boldly go where no kid has gone before.

Last week it was all about space at Portland Kinderschule. It was Space Explorers’ Week, one of PKS’s four summer camps this year and the motto was “Weltraum, Sterne und Planeten” (Space, Stars and Planets). The planets came first. We learned a bit how the planets look like and what is special about each of them Then every one of the eight kids picked a planet (good, that Pluto lost its planet status 11 years ago, so every planet was covered) and built a model of it from papermache. At the end we had a whole solar system in the classroom. Well, except for the sun, but we figured out if we wanted to build that to scale we would need a way bigger school.

Then we had to talk about the upcoming big astronomical event in Oregon: the Total Solar Eclipse next month. We learned what an eclipse is, what it looks like, saw pictures of an older eclipse and built our own goggles to safely watch the sun.

Is there life on other planets somewhere out there? Probably, but we haven’t found it yet. But that doesn’t stop us from wondering how lifeforms on other planets could look like. Maybe with big eyes on a dark planet or wheels instead of legs on a smooth flat world. At the end of that day there were a lot of different aliens sitting on the shelf.

The last day we learned how astronauts travel into space with rockets, encounter weightlessness in space, what that means for their daily life (gravity helps a lot on the potty) and built our own rockets that were launched maybe not into space but at least over the playground structure.

And in between was a lot of time to play, sing (“Völlig losgelöst von der Erde fliegt das Raumschiff völlig schwerelos!”), read books, eat together and make new friends.