The final frontier piques a lot of student interest, so try incorporating these space activities for a lesson that’s out of this world.
The space race continues as Elon Musk’s Space X continues to develop means to drive exploration beyond Earth’s atmosphere and Virgin Galactic explores civilian travel within our solar system. As our planet continues to feel smaller, Earth’s inhabitants are more curious than ever regarding space and its possibilities.
Incorporate the following space activities in your classroom to get students engaged in any subject.
1. Speed and Power of Space
Through using physics and chemistry principles, students can calculate the distance to a gamma-ray burst. These bursts of high-energy, electromagnetic radiation that travel to low Earth orbit from distant galaxies can be studied by students through employing Hubble’s Law, Doppler Shift, and apparent magnitude. As one of NASA’s space activities, “How Far? How Powerful?” requires students to use knowledge of light, the electromagnetic spectrum, spectral lines, and spectroscopy.
2. Making Space in Engineering
Utilizing engineering principles to create and launch a rocket, students will understand the elementary principles that are used to develop spacecraft. Discovery Education outlines space activities for in-class rocket ship construction using straws. To create the rocket, students will consider the craft’s measurements and aerodynamics. Following the experiment, students will compare launch and flight data to determine the best characteristics for a reliable rocket. Of all the space activities on the list, this task provides an excellent opportunity to engage students in peer assessment.
3. Back to the Future in Space Exploration
Covering humankind’s most notable space experiences, The Aerospace Corporation’s “A Brief History of Space Exploration” provides a concise timeline of advancements in travel from Earth into its surrounding solar system. During class, study the article and ask students to choose one of the topics covered to expand upon. From Robert Goddard to the use of satellites during the Gulf War, students can examine major figures and events in space history that led to today’s technologies.
4. Bringing Space Technology Down to Earth
Blending computer and Earth sciences, help students create a coded model of the solar system. Tynker.com provides the tools online to complete this space activity, which when completed will illustrate the solar system with a central sun orbited by Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Using this coding exercise, students will program these rates of orbit, showing the different speeds of each major and dwarf planet.
5. Speaking the Language of Space
It doesn’t seem English classes and space activities would make a compatible pairing. Using different parts of speech, students can build their own space activities stories with NASA’s “Write Your Own Zany Adventure Story!” tool. After students provide their own nouns, adjectives, and verbs, the website will generate a customized story that incorporates the student’s words, yet also teachers about a particular space topic.
Encourage students to consider breaking out of their comfort zones when studying space. Discuss space-focused study abroad programs and life-changing advancements brought about by space pioneers to inspire the next generation of innovators.