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Energy Of An Astronaut
September 2, 2011
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An Educational, Hands-on Activity

Astronauts living on the International Space Station (ISS) need balanced meals to meet their energy and health needs while in space. Food scientists and nutritionists at NASA ensure that astronauts eat balanced meals in space by consulting the Nutrition Fact labels and studying the nutritional needs of astronauts before food is packaged for both short and long duration spaceflight. Based on the environment of space and the conditions of microgravity, planning the astronauts' dietary needs can be challenging. Living and working in a reduced gravity environment will change an astronaut's nutritional needs. By studying specific nutritional needs of astronauts on the ISS, food scientists can learn what is needed for good nutrition on long duration space exploration. For example, bone loss caused by the microgravity of spaceflight requires an additional intake of vitamin D during long missions.

Lesson Objectives:

  • Students will investigate the Food Pyramid as they learn the basic foods of a well balanced diet.
  • Students will learn how different foods are categorized in the Food Pyramid.
  • Students will examine the Nutrition Facts labels including serving sizes and Calories.
  • Students will determine their daily energy needs.
  • Students will design a five-day menu based on the Food Pyramid recommendations.

 

Educational Resources

› Energy Of An Astronaut Educator Handout (PDF)
› Energy Of An Astronaut Student Handout (PDF)
› Energía de un astronauta - Sección del Instructor (PDF, en Español)
› Energía de un astronauta - Sección del Estudiante (PDF, en Español)

 


Activity Alignment To National Education Standards

National Science Education Standards (NSES):

Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

  • Personal health (K-8)

National Health Education Standards (NHES) Second Edition (2006):

Standard 1: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
As a result of health instruction in grades 3 through 5, students will:

  • 1.5.1 Describe the relationship between healthy behaviors and personal health.

Standard 5: Students will demonstrate the ability to use decision making skills to enhance health.
As a result of health instruction in grades 3 through 5, students will:

  • 5.5.1 Identify health related situations that might require thoughtful decision.

Standard 7: Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.
As a result of health instruction in grades 3 through 5, students will:

  • 7.5.1 Identify responsible personal health behaviors.
  • 7.5.2 Demonstrate a variety of healthy practices and behaviors to maintain or improve personal health.

 

Youtube Override: 
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Astronauts living on the International Space Station need balanced meals to meet their energy and health needs in space. NASA educator Nubia Carvajal walks through the process of setting up and running this educational activity, which teaches students how to design a five-day menu.
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Energy pyramid
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Page Last Updated: July 21st, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator