Event Catalog

Suits: Step into the Void

Target Audience
  • Students
Hosting Center(s)
  • Johnson Space Center
Subject Category
  • History
  • Life Science / Biology
  • Physical Science
  • Math
Unit Correlation
  • Exploring Engineering and Technology
  • Exploring Space
Grade Level
  • 5-8
  • 9-12
Minimum Delivery Time
  • 050 min(s)
Maximum Connection Time
  • 050 min(s)
Event Focus

What is a spacesuit, and how does it assist in extravehicular activities (EVAs)? How does NASA expect to carry out future Extravehicular Activities (EVAs)? NASA has accomplished many milestones which have broadened humankind's knowledge of outer space. Perhaps the most visual symbol of space exploration is an astronaut conducting a space walk.


This program is intended to be an all encompassing lesson on spacesuits with special attention paid to extravehicular activities.  The science and math principles behind a spacsuit will also be emphasized.  NASA  celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008.  This lesson will  show students how, using modern technology, humans will use space suits to further our understanding of the cosmos. This module contains various teaching methods that will generate interest in human space exploration among the participants.

This module begins with a student discussion and comparison of the environmental conditions found here on Earth as opposed to outer space. After students realize what is required of a spacesuit, they will learn about the extreme environment of outer space by determining what will happen to various materials when they are exposed to an in-studio vacuum chamber. At this point, students will watch a short video concerning the history of the spacesuit and then move onto an introduction of the current spacesuit, the Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or EMU. All of the components of the EMU and their use will be pointed out with the use of an in-studio spacesuit replica. After this, the how’s and why’s of a spacewalk, or extra vehicular activity, or EVA will be explained. The training that goes into an EVA while still on Earth will also be discussed. Students may even get to see a live glimpse of astronauts training for an EVA under water at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory! To wrap up, students will view the research that is being done to develop spacesuits for destinations like Mars or even asteroids! Depending on time availability, a fun math activity concerning pressure or neutral buoyancy may be also completed in-studio.

Instructional Objectives



Learners will share their prior knowledge of a spacewalk before they appreciate the science of an EVA (Extravehicular Activity).


Learners will examine the characteristics of outer space and why a space suit is required during an EVA.


Learners will describe how various components of the space suit correspond to objects in their own life.


Learners will discover the interrelation of the different components of the space suit and how they are all vital to the health and safety of the astronaut.


Learners will also demonstrate their space suit knowledge by completing a post-activity assessment, and comparing those results to their pre-activity assessment.


Sequence of Events

Pre-Conference Activities

Prior to the event, Teachers should download and review the complete educator guide


Educator Guide 5-8 

Educator Guide 9-12       


Students should complete the appropriate grade level activity shown below as well. 


Grade 5-8: Absorption and Radiation         

Grade 5-8: Mircrometeorites and Space Debris         


Grade 9-12 Keeping Your Cool         

Grade 9-12: Mircormeteorites and Space Debris         


Videoconference Activities

Students will interact with a NASA Education Specialist as they learn about spacesuits.  They will explore the roles spacesuits play in spacewalks (extravehicular activities,  EVA's). Students will learn about the past, present and, future generation spacesuits while becoming familiar with the training and practice an astronaut undedgoes prior to doing an EVA.

Post-Conference Activities

Please see educator guide for post-conference assessment questions. 




The following standards are abbreviated according to grade level.  Due to the longevity of standard descriptions, expected student behaviors are listed in the Educator Guide.


Grades 5-8

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)

  • Algebra
  • Data Analysis and Probability
  • Problem solving
  • Communication

National Science Education Standards (NSES)


  National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)

  • Geometry
  • Measurement
  • Problem solving
  • Communication

International Technology Education Association (ITEA)

  • Standard 1 -Characteristics and Scope of Technology
  • Standard 8 -Attributes of design
  • Standard 9 -Engineering design
  • Standard 10 -Role of troubleshooting, research and development, inventions and innovation, and experimentation in problem solving
  • Standard 17 -Information and Communication Technologies