Objective:To learn about the Space raceAnd develop questioning skillsGagarin and The Space RaceObjective:To learn about the space raceAnd develop questioning skills
Lesson on space for Year 4/5/6 (ages 9-11)
Objective: Pupils will learn about the history of the space race.
Skill to teach: asking questions and exploring ideas
You will need:
1. Sample rocket made using instructions from
2. Enough materials for class to make rockets in pairs or groups.
3. Information about the earth, moon and sun system on Guardian teacher network
Demonstrate use of Gagarin rocket and explain that pupils will be making them later in the lesson.
1. Ask the class what they know about space.
2. Ask what they know about its size, size (infinite) where it is (all round us), and what is in it. (Stars, planets, galaxies, black holes).
3. Slide 4 - check pupils know what comprises our Solar system. NB Pluto has recently been downgraded and is no longer considered to be a planet.
4. Ask what they know about space travel and what is needed to travel safely in space.
5. Is everything in space naturally occurring? (No, there is a lot of space debris)
6. Explore the idea of space travel, which do they know who has been there and if they would like to go.
7. Ask groups to list questions they would like to have answers to about space travel.
Questions to a scientist / an astronaut / about life in a space station. (Use these to focus some of the information in the rest of the lesson)
1. Use slides 5- 17 on PowerPoint to cover the history of the space race.
A brief history of space travel.
Life of Yuri Gagarin
What it is like in the space station.
2. Slide 18 Explain that the ISS is used to conduct experiments which would not be possible on Earth because of the gravity. Tell them that in the past school children have designed experiments to be done there eg could a spider spin a web in space? (Answer: no, it was found that spiders taken aboard the Skylab for this type of experiment produced finer webs than on Earth, also these webs had variations not seen before and were incomplete.)
Ask pupils to design an experiment for the next space mission.
Work in groups to use what they know about forces (mainly gravity) to design questions to do with
the way objects move / can be moved
the way liquids move / can be moved
Ask lower ability groups to suggest ideas for plant and animal experiments and more able pupils to suggest ideas for experiments using liquids, falling objects and forces.
3. Slide 19: Ask them about what they think life on board a space station would be like. Give them as many facts about this as you have time for, especially those on this slide about daily life. More facts are available on Wikipedia.
4. Slides 20-21
To mark the anniversary of the Gagarin flight the Russians will launch a rocket to the ISS called Gagarin. The YuriGagarin50 initiative is encouraging people across the UK to participate in mass rocket launchings of air and water powered crafts to mark the 50th anniversary of the day Gagarin became the first man in space, on April 12, 2011.
Help pupils to make a Gagarin rocket of their own either individually or in pairs or groups.
They could send pictures and records of what they do to email@example.com
Ask pupils what they have learned about space flight and what was the most interesting thing they learned.
Ask who would now like to travel in space.
Ask each group to explain their ideas for space experiments to the rest of the class. Each group to explain their idea to rest of class and answers questions about it.
By Graham Peacock, a senior lecturer in primary education at Sheffield Hallam University specialising is science. Graham has written over a hundred books on the teaching of science.
A rocket you will make later
QuestionsHow big is space?Where is it?What is in it?
What do you know about space travel?What is needed to travel safely in space?Is everything in space naturally occurring?Who do you know who has been up in space?Which of you would like to go?
In groups list questions you would like to ask an astronaut.
What is in our solar system? Use the two interactive activities from http://teachers.guardian.co.uk/resources.aspx?q=planets
Space marks 1957, First man-made object to orbit the Earth, ( USSR's Sputnik 1)and first dog in space.1961 The first human to journey into outer space Yuri Gagarin in Vostock 11963 First woman in space Valentina Tereshkova1965, The first spacewalk (by Aleksei Leonov)1969 The first Moon landing by the American Apollo 11 craft on July 20,1971 The launch of the first space station (Salyut 1) 1972 Pioneer launches1977 Voyagers 1 and 21998 Start of International Space Station
Laika, the first animal ever sent to space, rode to orbit in Sputnik II on the 3rd of November, 1957. Several countries issued stamps honouring Laika.
Ham, the first chimpanzee ever to ride into space is shown off by his animal trainer at Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Image Copyright NASA)
Yuri Gagarin (March 1934 27 March 1968), Soviet pilot and cosmonaut.
The first human to journey into outer space in Vostok 1 spacecraft on April 12, 1961. After re-entry, Gagarin ejected from the craft and landed safely by parachute.
After the mission, Gagarin became an international celebrity, and was awarded many medals and honours.
Vostok 1 was his only spaceflight.
Gagarin died when his training jet crashed in 1968. The precise cause of the crash is uncertain.
Russian post cardRussian Rouble commemorating Gagarin in 2001
Valentina TereshkovaFirst woman in spaceShe was selected to pilot Vostok 6 16th of June 1963. Before being recruited as a cosmonaut, Tereshkova was a textile-factory assembly worker and an amateur parachutist.
Moon Landing 1969 Apollo 11 blasted off on July 16, 1969. Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins were the astronauts . Four days later, Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon. They landed on the moon in the Lunar Module. It was called the Eagle. Collins stayed in orbit around the moon. He did experiments and took pictures. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to step on the moon. He and Aldrin walked around for three hours. They did experiments. They picked up bits of moon dirt and rocks.
Moon messageThe astronauts put a U.S. flag on the moon.They also left a sign on the moon which says:
"Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."
Image Credit: NASA
Pioneer plaque 1972
The Pioneer project sent up many rockets. Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft were the first human-built objects to leave the solar system. They had a plaque on board which could give information about us to other intelligent life. Pioneer 10 was launched in 1972 and sent back data for 30 years.
Voyagers 1 and 21977Voyager 1 and 2 space probes were launched by NASA in 1977, to study the outer Solar System and later interstellar space.
They have operated for 33 years,7 months,
The spacecraft receives routine commands and transmits data back to the Deep Space Network. Voyager 1 was the first probe to leave the Solar System and is the farthest human-made object from Earth.
Hubble 1990The Hubble Space Telescope was deployed from the Space shuttle Discovery on April 25, 1990.
Since then, there have been five servicing missions that continued to upgrade the telescope's scientific instruments and operational systems.
Hubble reached a major milestone, its 20th anniversary in orbit, on April 24, 2010.
The International Space Station (ISS)On-orbit construction of the station began in 1998 and is scheduled for completion by mid-2012. The station is expected to remain in operation until at least 2015, and likely 2020.
The ISS can be seen from Earth with the naked eye.
The ISS is the largest artificial satellite that has ever orbited Earth. The ISS acts as a research laboratory that has a microgravity environment in which crews conduct experiments in biology, chemistry, medicine, physiology and physics, as well as astronomical and meteorological observations. The space station is operated by crews of six space scientists at a time and has an uninterrupted human presence in space since 2000.
The station is serviced by several types of spacecraft including Soyuz, and, space shuttles and has been visited by astronauts and cosmonauts from 15 different nations.
The International Space Station
What would you want to test in space?What experiment would benefit from zero gravity?
Life on board the ISS16 sunrises and sunsets a day. The crew works ten hours per day on a weekday, and five hours on Saturdays, with the rest of the time their own for relaxation or work catch-up.They sleep in tethered sleeping bags. Most of the food eaten by station crews is frozen, refrigerated or canned.Crew members wash with a water jet and wet wipes.There are two space toilets which use a fan-driven suction system once astronauts fastened themselves to the toilet seat. Solid waste is collected in individual bags and full containers are transferred to visiting spacecraft for disposal. Liquid waste is collected and recycled back into drinking water.
Russia is making its final preparations for the launch of its Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station ahead of the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first manned journey into space.
Rockets for Yuri An event by the YuriGagarin50 initiative that will encourage people across the UK to participate in mass rocket launchings of air and water powered crafts to mark the 50th anniversary of the day Gagarin became the first man in space, on April 12, 2011.
Use instructions in colour from http://yurigagarin50.org/images/stories/PDFs/launch_manual_1.pdf
Fin pattern template can be found on the site for this activity. http://yurigagarin50.org/images/stories/PDFs/launch_manual_1.pdf
Make your own space rocket with instructions from http://yurigagarin50.org/images/stories/PDFs/launch_manual_1.pdf
Share your rocket launch success! Snap it! Post images at www.flickr.com/groups/yg50/ Film it! Upload videos to Youtube Tell us! Send us your webpage links to firstname.lastname@example.org Join us! With your permission we can add your videos to the YuriGagarin50 YouTube Channel and @YuriGagarin50 will tweet about it!
Useful Links More than 25 hands-on science activities are provided in classroom-ready pages for both teachers and students for exploring Earth, the planets, geology, and space sciences can be found at...http://www.spacegrant.hawaii.edu/class_acts/index.html
Visit NASA on http://www.nasa.gov/
A useful space diagram to show class is on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_exploration
Other space links for pupils can be found in ... http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/explore/space.htm
Guardian Teacher Network space resources http://teachers.guardian.co.uk/resources.aspx?q=planets and http://teachers.guardian.co.uk/resources.aspx?q=sun%20and%20moon
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson arrived at the International Space Station Friday, Oct. 12, to begin her tenure as the first woman to command a station mission.