Space Playground Lesson Plan

Introduction

In this unit, for K-6, the class designs a playground for children living a space settlement. Unlike Earth playgrounds, a space playgound is a weightless environment. Most Earth playground equipment depends on gravity: slides, swings, etc. In space, weightlessness brings opportunities and problems. By addressing these opportunities and problems, kids have an opportunity to learn physics, space science and engineering at an elementary level.

Preparation

The teacher must familiarize themselves with the basic physics of weightlessness. This can be done by viewing videos of astronauts in 0g and thinking about the issues involved. Examine the results of this unit at the Santa Cruz Children's School.

Lessons

This lesson has been tried once. Doubtless it can be improved. Send suggestions to globus@nas.nasa.gov.
  1. Show videos of astronauts having fun in 0g. Ask the children what the astronauts are doing. When one of them answers "playing" or something similar say "Yes, they're having fun." Then tell the class that someday kids will live in space and need playgrounds to have fun in. No one has ever built a space playground and they, the kids, are experts at having fun. Then lead a discussion of what sorts of equipment they want in their playground, the games they could play there, and how it could be built.
  2. Take the class to a playground and let them play for awhile. Then gather the class in a convenient spot to discuss each piece of playground equipment and how it would be different in 0g. Do the same for games.
  3. Have the children do the following:
  4. Send your experiences and what the kids did to Al Globus, MS T27A-1, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000.
Good luck.

Space Playground Home Page


Authors: Al Globus and Adele Gardner (AGard44580@aol.com).