Topic outline

  • General

    Title:  Space is Our Future- Middle School
    Written By:  Frances Dellutri

    Grade Level:  5 - 8  (ages 10 - 13)
    Topics:  Astronomy, Art, Careers, Language Arts, Rockets


    NGSS:  MS-ESS1-2; MS-ETSI-1;  

    CCSS: ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2, 8.4, 8.5, 8.6, 8.7 

    This group of lessons encourage students to imagine how they will be a part of the exploration and settlement of space. There are activities to discuss inspiration, compare an Earth environment with a micro-gravity environment, and an activity that suggests students actually consider a career in space. The lesson is organized in five segments which may stand alone or be used as a process to have student design a space settlement.  


    Why Space

    Comparing Toys in Space to Toys on Earth! 

    Inspiration of Space Travel

    What's next in Space?

    Careers In Space

    Our Destiny In Space

    Teacher Feedback

    • Why Space?

      This Section is a great introduction to considering space travel. Begin the lesson by asking the students the following questions:

      • What do you think space is?
      • What is the difference between space 'out there' and space in the classroom?
      • What can you do in space that you cannot do on Earth?
      • Do you think it would be fun to live and work in space?  Why or why not?

      Present the PowerPoint  found in 'Resources' and allow more discussion. Notes are found on the Notes Page on each slide.

    • Comparing Toys in Space to Toys on Earth!

      Included here is a video of astronauts aboard STS-54 operating toys in microgravity.  Students will view the video and conduct an experiment on Earth, comparing their functions with microgravity and speculating about other toys and how they would operate in space.  (STS is the Space Transportation System, better known as the NASA Space Shuttle.)

    • Inspiration of Space Travel

      What makes scientists, engineers, astronauts, electricians, dreamers, YOU  etc. get hooked on the topic of space?

      Many teachers use a 'Word Wall' to help trigger conversation and keep concepts present in the classroom.  Words for a Word Wall are found in the Resources below. The lesson Plan with the 'Inspiration' segment takes a look at famous inspirational quotes and having students consider them, illustrate them, take a Gallery Walk with them and follow up with questions for journaling.  There is an extension activity which puts their favorite quote inside an origami rocket. All learning styles and intelligences will be addressed in this activity!

    • Careers in Space

      Ask your students: "What's a career you think you would love?  Now, extend that career to performing it in space!  The opportunities are wide open for all the jobs that need to be done to make living, working, and traveling in space a reality!  Here are some thoughts of people making it happen and some ideas just for you:"

      Space Tourism

      Space Tourism Leads to Space Settlement
      NSS Position Paper on Space Tourism
      Annotated Bibliography of Recommended Reading

      "My dream is to make space accessible to tens of thousands of people." — Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic

      More than 700 seats are already booked for Virgin Galactic'sSpaceShipTwo (image on right). Click for larger version (1600 pixels).

      See remarks by Richard Branson on the importance of this work, and the video Virgin Galactic – Leading The Way in Space Tourism.


      SpaceShipTwo-1600.jpg (1600×1131)


      XCOR Aerospace in conjunction with RocketShip Tours has announced theavailability of $95,000 tickets for a seat in the co-pilot seat next to former Space Shuttle pilot Rick Searfoss in the Lynx suborbital spacecraft.


      "The process of creating a successful off-world tourism industry will be the key economic and technological driver enabling the human species to evolve into a real Solar System Species.
      — John Spencer, author of Space Tourism and President and founder of the Space Tourism Society.

      "SpaceShipOne [showed that] space travel was no longer just the domain of prohibitively expensive government programs subject to political whim. Now it was just like any other business that could be developed into a thriving industry." — From Rocketeers.

      Anousheh Ansari

      "The sheer beauty of it just brought tears to my eyes. If people can see Earth from up here, see it without those borders, see it without any differences in race or religion, they would have a completely different perspective. Because when you see it from that angle, you cannot think of your home or your country. All you can see is one Earth...."

      — Anousheh Ansari, Iranian-American space tourist who flew to the International Space Station in September 2006.


      "It was amazing. The zero-g part was wonderful. I could have gone on and on — space here I come."

      — Stephen Hawking, renowned British astrophysicist who was able to leave his wheel chair and experience zero-gravity aboard a parabolic airplane flight on April 26, 2007. Hawking plans to fly onSpaceShipTwo.

      Stephen Hawking

    • Our Destiny in Space

      Episode 5:  Our Destiny In Space

      After viewing the video, 'Our Destiny in Space,' 

       consider designing a space settlement.

      Who would be living in a space settlement?  (NASA has some ideas about that!)

      • Teacher Feedback