Seventh graders have been exploring space as a human habitat in recent weeks. Following a study of ecology, students approached space from the perspective of meeting human needs for food, water, and shelter in the environment of space. The International Space Station (ISS) has been the focus of our investigation as a model for long-duration human space flight. Through a series of activities, investigations, and videos, students have an understanding of what it takes for humans to live in space.
Recently, students explored the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) on the ISS. These systems make human life possible by controlling things such as water, air, pressure, temperature, humidity, and waste on board the ISS. But what happens when an astronaut leaves the well-controlled environment of the ISS to perform a spacewalk? Students researched the harsh environment of outer space in order to design spacesuits that will meet the requirements for healthy and safe ‘personal’ environments that astronauts must wear while spacewalking. Working in pairs or in groups of three, students then brainstormed ideas and selected at least seven spacesuit requirements to incorporate into their own designs. Sketches were produced and then refined before presenting ideas to peers.
The results were amazing and fun! Students enjoyed seeing the diversity of ideas and the creative ways these ideas were incorporated into the student designs. Check out the photos of some of our space suits and presentations!