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Come In, Mission Control

Students create an instrument panel for an imaginary spacecraft and explore the ways scientists collect data about the universe.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Students explore resources to discover methods space scientists use to investigate mysteries of the universe. Search newspapers, news magazines, and Web sites for current information on NASA missions and programs. Brainstorm with the class to share information.
    2. Students create an imaginary space shuttle or mission control instrument panel with a recycled cereal box. Use Crayola® Scissors to cut down the sides of one flat face of the box so it is open to the inside.
    3. Cover the inside and outside of the box with construction paper. Attach with a Crayola Glue Stick.
    4. Students use Crayola Metallic FX Crayons to draw a view finder with an image of space on the upright side. Add controls and dials made from assorted craft materials such as buttons, chenille sticks, craft sticks, and aluminum foil. Be creative. Invent new tools for collecting data in the space shuttle, or try to make it realistic. Add glittering buttons and lights with Crayola Glitter Glue.
    5. Students work with partners to decide on what their space mission will investigate. Students sit across from each other behind their control panels and simulate a real data-gathering mission, talking back and forth about the expedition.
  • Standards

    LA: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    SCI: Construct original explanations of phenomena using knowledge of accepted scientific theory and linking it to models and evidence.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Classroom resources: A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky: The Story of the Stars, Planets, and Constellations--and How You Can Find Them in the Sky by Michael Driscoll and Meredith Hamilton; 13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System by David A. Aquilar; Our Solar System by Seymore Simon; Stars by Seymore Simon.


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