Lunar and Planetary Institute

Explore! Health in Space - Activities
EXPLORE! Health in Space


Space Bound! The Initial Engagement
Space Bound!
is a 45 minute kick-off to your space program for children ages 8–13 that sets the stage for  further explorations and activities in Explore! Staying Healthy in Space. As a group, children listen to a story about living and working in space. Through discussion, they identify the challenges astronauts face!

Space Radiation - UV Kid!
Children use common craft materials and ultraviolet (UV)-sensitive beads to construct a person (or dog or imaginary creature):  UV Kid! They use sunscreen, foil, paper, and more to test materials that might protect UV Kid — and ourselves! — from being exposed to too much UV radiation.

Beans in Space: An Experiment in Microgravity and Muscle Atrophy – children ages 8–13 perform 20 arm curls with cans that simulate the weight of beans on Earth and the weight of the same number of beans on the Moon and in space. They explore what happens to muscles in space that do not have to fight the force of gravity.

Follow the Bouncing Ball – children ages 8–13 predict whether a ball on Earth or a ball  on the Moon bounces higher when dropped (or thrown at the floor) and why. They simulate the experiment by dropping high and regular bounce balls from their shoulder height.

Measure Up! – children ages 8–13 work in pairs to measure each other's ankles with lengths of string before and after lying on their backs with their feet in the air for 1 minute. This simulatesthe microgravity of space, where everything — including body fluids — floats!

Bones of Contention – children ages 8–13 make models representing bones on Earth and bones that have been in space. They discover what happens to bones without proper exercise and nutrition!

Sponge Spool Spine – Children ages 8–13 simulate what happens to a human spine in space by making Sponge Spool Spine (alternating sponge pieces and spools threaded on a pipe cleaner). This represents a human spine on Earth, with the discs (sponges) pressed between the spinal vertebrae (the wooden spools). The children measure the spine length, dip it in a glass of water (simulating microgravity), and then re-measure the spine. They will find it has expanded, just like in space!

The Astronaut In Me
In the four-part The Astronaut In Me exploration,children ages 8–13 investigate the importance of good nutrition, sleep, exercise, and recreation for astronauts — and themselves!  They discover the healthy choice challenges they have in common. This module requires 120 minutes, but can be divided into parts.

Last updated
June 23, 2015