5 creative ways to teach outer space

By | 2017-08-17T20:18:59+00:00 March 22nd, 2017|For teachers|0 Comments

Space is an fantastic, complex entity that may seem overwhelming to teach. Though, we can spend our entire lives unraveling the mysteries of space, we all have to start with a solid foundation. Teaching the basics theories of space doesn’t have to be taxing when teachers provide fun, engaging and imaginative projects. Here’s 5 creative ways to teach outer space.

Bake edible meteorites

Your students can study the fusion crust and regmaglypts of a meteorite in a delicious way! Students will explore the colors and textures of “edible rocks” in the of form rocky road, peanut brittle and chocolate brownies.

"Planets" by Charlie2008 (4Y USA)

“Planets” by Charlie2008 (4Y USA)

First, teachers should either bake the “edible rocks” at home or see about borrowing your school’s home economics room. Once the baking is completed, your class should bag the samples in plastic zip lock bags. Then, each student should describe the physical characteristics of their sample, or create Field Notes. For example, is it porous? What is its weight and density? Be sure to stay away from culinary terms.

Your class can also create a detailed sketch of their sample, making sure to note any smooth, or grainy surfaces. Students can compare their drawings to actual meteorites found online. Once the lesson is completed, you and your students can enjoy a sweet treat.

Design a space habitat

Ask your students what humans need in order to stay alive on Earth. How do we breathe? What do we need to eat in order to survive? What do we need to drink? Now, ask your students think about the type of facility humans will need to live on another planet . What materials will last the longest, but that are also easily moveable? How heavy should they be? You can find more ideas about requirements for a space habitat here.

Once your class has recorded the requirements for their habitats, they can start building their design. But, first, will they build their habitat on the Moon or Mars? The Moon and Mars have significant differences in temperature, location from Earth and atmospheric elements. Students should consider these distinctions when creating their habitats. Younger children have design their space habitats with markers and crayons, while older students can use programs like Illustrator and InDesign.

Planet HUE by AnneZ (44Y Austria)

Planet HUE by AnneZ (44Y Austria)

Build a space station

NASA offers a great, free download that lets students create a space station simulation! The download comes with an introduction and facts about the station, additional educational resources, cut outs of the actual model, instructions on building the model and worksheets for students to complete once they’ve created their space station. There’s even a test that teachers can give students as well.

Students should work in teams to not only build the model, but work together to learn the material provided in the download.

Earth, sun & moon models

For this project, you will give your students the freedom to use their critical thinking and research skills, and creativity to design and construct earth, sun and moon models. Break your students up into small groups. Give each group different materials, such as tape or glue, different sized balls (wiffle balls, styrofoam balls, tennis balls, golf balls etc), pipe cleaners and other craft objects. You can also provide them with markers, paints and construction paper.

Print out the directions for each group and see what they come up with! Groups should explain their models, focusing on features, such as size, distance, or colors.

Lamp & Rocket by erikbergelin (35Y Sweden)

Lamp & Rocket by erikbergelin (35Y Sweden)

Make blueprints for your very own spaceship

Together, as a class, you can discuss the Milky Way galaxy, including the number of stars and planets, the atmospheric changes around each planet, the Galactic Center, the Orion arm and so on. Then, each student should choose or be assigned a planet to research. Using NASA’s spaceship blueprints, students should create their own blueprints of spaceships. The vessels should include features that will ensure the astronauts’ survival during their travel to each respective planet. Students should be as inventive as possible. After their blueprints are completed, each can present their blueprint to the class.

Has your class made any space or planetary creations? Why not put them on a digital gallery for students all over the world to see? Be sure to sign your students up for a free account on Creatubbles.

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Tish Seabrook. Copywriter at Creatubbles. Writer and former university lecturer. Interests: edtech, STEAM, arts integration. https://ctbl.es/tishseabrook