Introduce your students to an incredible feat of space engineering using this lesson on the International Space Station. Even if your students have heard of ISS, they may not fully understand who lives there, how long it has been there, the countries involved, the technology needed to make it all happen, and other pertinent facts. Most students at this level are quite interested in space-related information, and easily become engaged when given the opportunity, particularly when the opportunity includes information about real astronauts living in space. The lesson can be used in conjunction with other space-related lessons. In addition, NASA has extensive resources available for teachers which will help their students learn more about the International Space Station and the astronauts who live there.
Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction:
- Ask: Would you like to live in space, not another planet, but in space? What do you think it would be like? What would you like or dislike about it?
- Allow for responses and discussion. Allow students to respond to each of the questions. Next, ask: Do you know the name of the current home for astronauts in space?
- Allow for responses. Introduce the International Space Station.
- Distribute International Space Station content pages. Read and review the information with the students. Save the final question for the lesson closing. Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
- Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions. Pair students. Distribute rulers/colored pencils. (Part 2 is optional for use. Supplies may include a wide range of items, such as used plastic containers, straws, cardboard pieces, string, wire, etc., plus glue, tape, and other available items.) Allow sufficient time for students to complete either part of the activity. Encourage creativity. Tell students it must be a different design than the current ISS.
- When completed, student pairs will present their Space Station designs to the class, models or otherwise.
- Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
- Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses. For last question, students must find the number of minutes in 20 years, then divide by 90.
- In closing, ask: What do you think would be the best and worst thing about living in space? Why?
- Allow for responses and discussion.
Common Core State Standards:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6.7
Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions
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