Experimenting in Space
If you like the experiments below, check out Future Aspiring Aviators for even more exciting experiments and curriculum.
Outer space is known as the final frontier. The environment in space is unsuited to human beings. To survive during space travel, a person must be supplied with an environment similar to earth. Oxygen must be supplied inside a spacecraft to insure human survival. Also, heat, cold, weightlessness, food, water, etc. are special problems.
Space travel requires speeds as high as 18,000 miles per hour and more. Such high speed, in itself, is harmless. (The rotation of the earth moves at a speed greater than 700 miles per hour. The earth also carries us around the sun at a speed of about 66,000 miles per hour. Also, the solar system revolves around the center of our galaxy at about 43,000 miles per hour.)
Objectives: To observe a space exhibit at a museum. To draw pictures and write stories about the trip experience.
Materials: Field trip to a space exhibit at a museum.
Skills: Observing, developing and expanding vocabulary.
Time: A half day.
- Read stories about astronauts.
- Visit the Museum and observe the space exhibit.
- Follow-up by drawing pictures and dictating or writing stories about space.
Space Learning Center
Objectives: To role play astronauts traveling in a spaceship.
Setup: Set up one corner of the room for a spaceship. Make a cardboard construction with dials for operating the spaceship. Supply helmets and boots for the astronauts to wear as dress up. Make play food for the astronauts. (obtain astronaut freeze dried food.)
Skills: Increasing vocabulary related to astronauts in space.
Time: Free choice period for the duration of the unit.
- After setting up the learning center, allow 3 to 4 students to select the center during free choice period. Have the center available for the duration of the unit.
- Follow-up by having the students draw pictures and tell/write stories about space.
Objectives: To discover that jets and rockets get their thrust from air molecules; to identify the combustion chamber as one part of an engine involved with thrust.
Materials: Balloon, empty bottle, pan of water, hot plate.
Time: 20 minutes
Instructional Methods: Place a pan of water on the hot plate. Inside, place an empty bottle secured with a balloon. Convey the idea that the air molecules in the bottle will move vigorously and bounce farther apart. The air expands, pushing against the bottle. What's likely to happen? Why?
Objectives: To cooperate in groups. To design a model space colony.
Materials: Wood, cardboard, clay or play dough, construction paper, boxes, scissors, paint, markers, foil, glitter, etc.
Skills: Designing, researching
Time: 4 periods of 60 minutes
- Divide students into groups. Have them research how people could live in space and then design and build their own space colony.
Have a space exhibit of all the different space colonies.