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 the further explorations and activities in Explore! Staying Healthy in Space. As a group, children listen to a story about living and working is space. Through discussion, they identify the challenges astronauts face!
What's the Point?
- There are many challenges astronauts face as they live and work in space
- Daily life in space is different than life on Earth, but in both environments humans have the same basic needs
- Scrap sheets of paper for children's notes
- Poster board or poster paper
- Writing utensils for children
- Several books about life in space
- Collect several books about living and working in space and display them in a place where the children can page through them before and after the activity.
- Choose at least one of the books from your collection to read to the children.
Older children may wish to select the book and may want to participate in the reading. You may wish to have several copies of a book available, or several different books. If you are working with diverse ages, consider having the older children read to the younger ones or have them help lead the discussion.
- Prepare an area large enough for the children to be comfortably seated as a group.
1. Assemble the children in a group and prompt them to think about what living in space is like. Keep track of their ideas on poster paper.
- What do you think it would be like to live and work in space?
- What do you think some of the challenges would be?
- What is your daily routine? How might it be different or the same as an astronaut's daily routine?
- To stay healthy, what are some things you have to do that an astronaut has to do as well?
- What would be the most fun about living in space?
- Do you think you would like to live in space? Why or why not?
2. Read the story you have chosen about living and working in space, or, with older children, have them take turns reading to the group. You may wish to divide into several smaller groups before beginning, with each group tackling a particular aspect of life in space or a different book.
3. After reading the book, launch a discussion.
- What new things did you learn about living and working in space?
- What aspects of living in space surprised you?
- To stay healthy, what are some things you have to do that an astronaut has to do as well? Exercise, eat balanced meals, stay clean, sleep, have fun!
- What do you think is the worst part of an astronaut's job?
- What do you think is the best part of an astronaut's job?
- Did you change your mind about whether you would like to live in space?
4. If the children have questions about the vocabulary they are hearing, have them begin a "vocabulary wall" — a place where you or they can collect the words they do not know. Have them write the words on sheets of paper. Invite them to search for the definition and then share their findings with the group. After the discussion, ask for volunteers to help explain or define the vocabulary terms.
Ask the children if they would like to learn more about living and working in space. They will soon be invited to participate in several activities that will give them a better idea of what it is really like. They will also learn some surprising ways in which children and astronauts are alike!