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

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

Lesson narration:
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DISCUSS:

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

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DISCUSS:

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

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DISCUSS:

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

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Extensions

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 and can be adjusted for reading level. Writing prompts and quiz questions are available for most readings.

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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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Lesson narration:

Activity Prep

Print Prep

In this lesson, students examine how physical traits can be influenced by the environment. In the activity, Astronaut-in-Training, students analyze how a NASA astronaut’s traits changed during his “year in space.” Then they measure some of their physical traits (arm strength, height, and balance) and predict how their own traits might change after living in space.

Preview activity
COVID-19 Adaptations
Digital worksheets available
See our advice below

Students at home
Students need the Traits in Space worksheet (printed or digital). Students will need someone at home to help them count push-ups, count steps and measure their height.
Students at school
Students need a partner to help them count push-ups and steps, but this can be done at a safe distance from one another. You can have students skip the height part of the worksheet to maintain a safe distance.

Exploration

16 mins

Wrap-Up

4 mins

Extend this lesson

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