Teacher Resources for Living in Space: Design a Space Station

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What is it? Living in Space is an online game which explores the idea of living in space. What do humans need in order to live in this hostile environment? What do we need to work and thrive in space? By designing a space station, you (the user or the student)] examines a series of problems: How will you breathe? What will you eat? How will you produce power? While choosing the best solution for each problem, you learn how NASA and the Russian space agency have designed life support systems for their spacecraft, while gaining an appreciation for the Earth's environment and the many ways that it provides the things that we need to survive.

There are three levels to the game:

Level 1:Here the goal is simply to create a habitable space station so your astronauts can survive in space. The problems are providing your astronuats with air, water, food, power, and toilet facilities. At the end of this level, you can download a certificate of accomplishment.

Level 2:The goal in this level is to expand your space station's facilities so your astronauts can work in space. New problems to solve are water (recycling), waste disposal, exercise, and personal hygiene. There is another certificate to download upon the completion of this level.

Level 3:This level explores self-sufficiency in space. You must figure out how to produce air and food within your space station. There is also a space emergency which you must deal with. A third certificate of accomplishment awaits you if you complete this section successfully.

Who Can Play? Living in Space is designed for 4th-graders and up. Students can play the game independently or in small groups. Some teachers have also used this activity with their entire class by projecting the computer screen on the wall.

Worksheet: You can also assign (and modify, as you like) the Living in Space study worksheet for additional assessment and accountability. Again, the worksheet requires students to play the game thoroughly to discover the answers. Use the teacher key for guidance in correcting.