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Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans

What's Out There? Space Shuttle Exploration and Simulation
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Few areas of science capture the imagination of students of all ages as much as space. The moon, planets, and other heavenly bodies are fascinating and offer exploration opportunities to those brave enough to conquer the mysteries of space. While few people get to take actual trips to space, students can explore space through a mock space shuttle flight. Students will role-play the jobs of real space shuttle astronauts, conduct experiments, and research space using the Internet and offline experiments. At the conclusion of their shuttle trip, student-astronauts will hold a "press conference" to share their information with others. The students will form space shuttle crews of three students each. Each crew will consist of three astronauts: the pilot, science specialist, and shuttle technical specialist. Each member of the crew will have specific roles they must follow. These include finding locations in space and on earth, tracking weather on earth, and conducting experiments in space. At the conclusion of each mission, the students must create a multimedia presentation to share during a mock press conference.

Grade Level:


Subject Matter:

Science, Math, Language Arts

Curricular Uses:

Science: space, weather, gravity
Math: numerical operations
Language Arts: journal writing, creative writing

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  •   Access the NASA Web site and find current topics presented there.
  •   Locate and identify cities by using a given latitude and longitude.
  •   Utilize reference materials to find information about specified space topics.
  •   Access information from specific Web sites concerning space topics agreed upon by the teacher and students.
  •   Access information from specific Web sites concerning current weather conditions at the space shuttle landing destination.
  •   Compose a non-fiction piece of writing relating information gained by visiting the NASA Web site and other Web sites.
  •   Role-play a specific astronaut job and relate information to others about that job.
  •   Use mathematics skills to calculate the amount of oxygen and power used during the space shuttle simulation.
  •   Use the Internet to access weather information to determine whether conditions are favorable for a space shuttle landing.

    This lesson was developed by Kim Sanders, a wNetSchool Master Teacher, and was funded by The Louis Calder Foundation.