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Lesson Title: Cool Spacesuits
May 11, 2012

Unit: Life Science - Survival

Grade Levels: 4-6

Connection To Curriculum: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Teacher Prep Time: 1.5 hours

Lesson Time Needed: 2 hours

Complexity: Moderate

Keywords: radiation danger, spacesuits, outpost simulation, human needs, space environment


Two thermometers
Black construction paper
White construction paper
Tape or glue
Ruler or measuring tape
Small boxes (shoe box size)
Two stopwatches
Window, lamp or other light source
Two clean, empty coffee cans with lids
7 m of aquarium tubing
Two 1-gallon buckets
Duct tape
Water (solid and liquid)
Hole punch
Flood light and fixture
Kitchen size plastic garbage bag

This lesson will enable students to demonstrate, test and analyze materials utilized in spacesuits to keep astronauts cool in the harsh environment of space.

Students will:
• Demonstrate the water cooling technology used in the International Space Station (ISS) Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU).
• Test and make an analysis of the relationship between reflection/absorption and color.

First page of Cool Spacesuits

Lesson Guide
Cool Spacesuits Lesson
[105KB PDF file]



Lesson Activities and Sequence

  1. Keeping Your Cool
    This activity demonstrates the principle behind the operation of the International Space Station Extravehicular Mobility Unit liquid cooling garment.
    Keywords: spacesuit, EVA, astronaut health, space environment, circulation tubes, liquid cooling garment, siphoning
  2. Cool Suits
    This activity engages students in testing and analyzing the relationship between reflection/absorption and color of the International Space Station Extravehicular Mobility Unit.
    Also for this activity, have the students observe the NASA's 21st Century Explorer 30-second newsbreak, "How will your imagination help you become an explorer?"
    Keywords: absorption of energy, reflection, measuring temperature, extreme temperatures, space environment spacesuit, scientific process, line graphs, lab safety

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Science as Inquiry
• Understanding of scientific concepts.
• Understanding of the nature of science.
• Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.
Physical Science Standards
• Properties of objects and materials.
• Transfer of energy.
Life Science
• Organisms and environments.
Science and Technology
• Abilities of technological design.
• Understanding about science and technology.
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Personal health.
• Changes in environments.
• Natural hazards.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, NCTM
Measurement and Data
• Represent and interpret data.
Expressions and Equations
• Solve real-life and mathematical problems using numerical and algebraic expressions and equations.

ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Students, ISTE
Creativity and Innovation
• Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
Research and Information Fluency
• Process data and report results.
Technology Operations and Concepts
• Understand and use technology systems.
• Select and use applications effectively and productively.


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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator