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Animals Through Time    Mystery 8

Mystery 8 image

In the Mystery, students examine how physical traits can be influenced by the environment. In the activity, students analyze how a NASA astronaut’s traits changed during his “year in space,” then they predict how their own traits might change after living in space.

How long can people (and animals) survive in outer space?

Beginning Exploration (1 of 7)
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Beginning Exploration (2 of 7)

DISCUSS:

What kinds of things do you think make outer space dangerous?

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Beginning Exploration (3 of 7)
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Beginning Exploration (4 of 7)

DISCUSS:

What dangers do you think there might be living inside the spacecraft?

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Beginning Exploration (5 of 7)
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Beginning Exploration (6 of 7)

DISCUSS:

Which traits do you think changed while Scott Kelly was in space? Why do you think those traits changed?

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Beginning Activity Prep
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Activity Prep

Step 1: Plan ahead

Students will measure some of their physical characteristics (arm strength, height, and balance) and learn about how spending time in space could change those characteristics.

Students will work with a partner. (Homeschool students working alone will need help with some steps.)

Each pair of students will need floor space where they can do push-ups and walk 15 heel-to-toe steps in a straight line. They will also need wall space where they can do push-ups against the wall.

Step 2: Gather supplies and print worksheets

Each student will need:

You may also want to print out:

Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Activity: Astronaut-in-Training
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Beginning Exploration (7 of 7)
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Beginning Complete!

You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the assessment, reading and extension activity in the optional extras.

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Optional Extras

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the Exploration and Activity you just completed.
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Activity: Touchdown!

This cool activity challenges students to build a “lander” from simple materials, such as straws, paper, and mini-marshmallows. The goal is to create a design that will keep astronauts from getting hurt when they land on another planet. Discussion questions, extensions, and a downloadable PDF, available in both English and Spanish, are included. (Grades 3–8, NASA/JPL)

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Readings

Readings from Newsela are free with registration. They’re available in English or Spanish and can be adjusted for reading level. Writing prompts and quiz questions are available for most readings.

  • What’s life like on a space station? Read this article to find out. (Grade 3)

  • In 2008, Peggy Whitson became the first woman commander on the International Space Station. Peggy has beaten lots of other records as well. Read here about her experiences in space. (Grade 3)

  • In this article (Grade 3), astronaut Scott Kelly talks about a typical day in space—how it feels and even how it smells. For students reading at a slightly lower level, or for more about Kelly’s experiences, read this article (Grade 2) to find out what happened when he returned to earth.

  • Want to learn more about what happens to your body in space? Read this article. (Grade 3)

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Videos

Whether you’re trying to move or work or even just breathe, living in space is filled with challenges.

  • In this video, astronaut Mark Vande Hei explains how he stays fit aboard the International Space Station. (2:57, ESA)
  • How long would you last unprotected on another world? Not long, as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson explains. (2:45, Business Insider)
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