Educator Features

What Would You Bring?
Teacher Section

Objective: To think of the items you would bring on a long spaceflight and to write about your decision to bring them.

Grade Level: 5-8
Subject(s): Language Arts, Science
Prep Time: < 10 minutes
Duration: 30 minutes
Materials Category: None

National Education Standards
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
        Populations, resources and environments
        Natural hazards

  • Pencil
  • Paper
Background Information

Astronauts living on the International Space Station (ISS) and those traveling on the Space Shuttle give up comforts we take for granted on Earth. For example, there is no shower on the ISS or on the Space Shuttle. Instead of showering, the astronauts must wipe themselves clean with cloths. They must also live without seeing their friends and family. They stay in contact through e-mail and phone calls, though.

Plus, there's no cable television or pizza delivery in space. There are no shopping centers. To stay entertained, the astronauts have only a few options. One of their favorite pastimes is looking at the Earth through the windows. They can also listen to music or do other things (hobbies, activities, interests, etc.) that they bring with them.

In this lesson, students will brainstorm and decide what they would bring with them on a long-duration spaceflight. They will then justify their answers in written form.

  1. As a class, discuss students' favorite free time activities. This could include playing video games, shopping, watching movies, listening to music, etc.
  2. Discuss the comforts and necessities that astronauts must do without when on long-duration spaceflight. Tell the class to think about things that they would need on a long trip in space.
  3. Write one or both of the following writing prompts on the board.
    • Imagine you are packing for a three-month stay on the International Space Station (ISS). You can only take five items with you. You must be able to carry all five items since storage is in short supply on the ISS. List the five items you would bring and explain why you chose those items.
    • List five things that you absolutely could not live without. Tell why those items are important to you. Could you take them on the ISS?
  4. Instruct the students to choose one topic and write a one-page report.
  • Have volunteers share their reports.