This lesson for students aged 7-11 is about life on extremely long space journeys, and how to provide enough food and water to keep astronauts going.
Step 1: Starter to link to pupil experience
Introduce the topic of extremely long journeys by starting with talking about pupils’ greatest or most extreme experiences.
Step 2: Develop through imagination the concept of ‘space tools’ capable of making food and water
This section is set up as a mystery: what amazing, cutting edge technology could astronauts possibly use to generate their food, oxygen and water on a journey to mars? Encourage pupil’s imagination and then reveal simple ‘space tools’ in the classroom.
Step 3: Main investigation to measure change across a semi-permeable membrane and two solutions of different concentration
Pupils plan, predict and carry out a practical activity to measure and record the changes to a gummy bear (or potato stick).
Step 4: Plenary sets a further amazing possibility
Food, whilst amazing, can possibly be made in space. Water, whilst amazing, can be made safe enough to drink. What about artificial gravity? Leave pupils to wonder: could that be possible too?
Children will be able to work scientifically by:
Children will learn:
Download the teachers' guide for instructions on how to use these clips:
Kevin Fong showing how a filtering bag allows him to drink his own urine:
Kevin creates artificial gravity with cups of water:
Primary resources produced by the University of Manchester's Science & Engineering Education Research and Innovation Hub
View the full CHRISTMAS LECTURES, How to survive in space, on the Ri Channel: richannel.org/christmas-lectures