Astronaut on a Space Walk

Astronaut on a Space Walk lesson plan

Prepare to walk in space! Create an astronaut as you learn about space exploration.

  • 1.

    Who was the first human to venture into space? What was the mission? What did scientists discover? Read about the history of space flight and the key countries and people responsible for its success. Have students research the components of astronaut gear.

  • 2.

    Students design a replica of an astronaut in space using these ideas to whet their imagination! If it takes students multiple sessions to create their astronaut, store the pieces in a resealable plastic container so the modeling compound will continue to stick to itself.

  • 3.

    Have students use a foam ball for the astronaut’s head and space helmet. Cover it with a thin layer of black Model Magic® modeling compound. Blend the seams into each other.

  • 4.

    Cover a chenille stem with a long rope of white Model Magic. Loosely coil the coated chenille stem to look like the oxygen hose that goes from the astronaut’s pack to the spaceship. (Hint: To keep the compound from sticking to itself when coiling, wrap it around a small cup. Press the ends onto the cup to hold it in place. Cut off these ends later.)

  • 5.

    Choose a snack canister for the torso of the astronaut. The bigger the torso, the bigger the astronaut! Make sure the size is appropriate for the head. For the astronaut body, create basic arms, legs, and feet out of crumpled aluminum foil. Do not add hands yet. Bend and position them into place, stemming from the snack canister torso. Keep the arms at the top of the canister to build shoulders. When complete, tape the arms to the canister.

  • 6.

    Use white Model Magic patches to smooth over hard edges and create shoulders. Then cover the entire body with a thin layer of the same color. Using the edge of a rounded modeling tool or a finger, push in a wrinkled texture for the suit.

  • 7.

    Press the black covered foam ball onto the top of the torso for a space helmet. Roll a thin white Model Magic layer flat. Cut a straight edge on one side with Crayola Scissors. Cover a little more than half of the back of the helmet with it, straight edge front. Remove any extra Model Magic that goes past the shoulders. Then roll two long skinny ropes of white and one long skinny rope of another color of Model Magic compound, about the same length. Make them long enough that they can wrap around the base of the helmet. Wrap one of the ropes around the base of the helmet where the shoulders meet the helmet. Stack the other rope on top. Use tools to etch in details or to blend the seams.

  • 8.

    For gloves, take two small balls of any color of Model Magic compound and flatten them a little. With a tool, cut out two opposite glove shapes. Press the edge of a tool into the spots where the fingers touch to create the look of fingers. Then attach the gloves to the ends of the arms. To cover the area where they meet, roll two long, skinny ropes of Model Magic for each glove and wrap them around where the arm and glove meet.

  • 9.

    To create the tread on the boots, roll two long skinny ropes of a light color of Model Magic compound. Wrap one of them on the bottom of each boot and flatten. Use a tool to etch vertical tread marks all around the boots.

  • 10.

    For the astronaut’s backpack, use a small cardboard box about the size of a box of raisins. Cover the box completely with a thin layer of white Model Magic compound. Add details and press the pack on the astronaut’s back.

  • 11.

    For the hoses that connect from the suit to the pack, roll four small balls of a light color and flatten onto the chest of the suit. Roll four thick long ropes of white Model Magic compound similar in length. Attach each one from the bottom of the backpack to the spots on the front of the suit. Add texture to the hoses with tools.

  • 12.

    Attach the chenille stem air hose to the bottom of the backpack with a little bit of compound. Decorate the suit with Model Magic flag patches, names and initials. Model Magic® dries to the touch overnight and dries completely in 2 to 3 days.

Standards

  • LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at grade level independently and proficiently.
  • LA: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
  • LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • LA: With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
  • MATH: Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems.
  • SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.
  • SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.
  • SS: Demonstrate an understanding that people in different times and places view the world differently.
  • SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.
  • VA: Use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.
  • VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

Adaptations

  • Students research the history of the American space program and the development of NASA. What was the initial purpose of this government agency? What is its purpose now? Students organize their research into an electronic format for presentation.
  • Organize a class field trip to a planetarium. Students can become familiar with stars and locate major constellations. Upon returning to the classroom, challenge students to research the history behind specific constellations and create visuals of each using Crayola markers and construction paper. These representations should be digitally photographed and uploaded to a class electronic file. Students will audiotape their research and attach the audio file to the digital photograph for small group presentation.
  • Students research the Russian space program and its influence on the development of American space program.
  • Using Crayola Sidewalk Chalk, students create a scale drawing of the solar system on an outdoor surface, such as a macadam play area. Students label each planet with facts such as the planet's size, distance from the sun, and number of moons.
  • Students research an American astronaut and his/her career accomplishments. What led this person into this career? What challenges were faced? Prepare an organized written piece describing this research.
  • Were women included in the early space program in the United States? Have students research this question. Classroom resource: Almost Astronauts: 13 Women who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone. Students take on the role as an advocate of women's rights. How would you promote and defend the use of women in the space program?
  • Students research facts about the Earth's moon. In small groups, students collaborative compose a story about an imaginary trip to the moon. Encourage students to include facts from their research in their fictional story. Students may also illustrate a scene from their story using Crayola Colored Pencils.