Life in Space:
Part 1– Colonize the Solar System

Questions about these lessons?
The lessons on this page open as Microsoft Word documents. This allows teachers to make changes and adaptations for their particular classrooms. Adobe Reader versions of these lessons are available on the Adobe Reader page. You can download the Adobe Reader program here.

Part 1 Overview

Assignment 1– Planet Information
Assignment 1 notes for teachers

This assignment introduces the project. Students research a chosen planet to determine general environmental conditions.

Lesson plan 1 – Motions of the Earth, Moon and Sun
Students model the motions of the Earth, the Sun and the Moon, taking turns acting out the 3 different objects. 

Assignment 2 – Requirements for Life
Assignment 2 notes for teachers

Students begin to evaluate the suitability of their chosen planet for human habitation. They begin thinking about how they can provide the necessities for life on their planet.

Lesson Plan 2 – Lunar Phases
Students use a Styrofoam ball and a lamp to determine the positions of the Earth, the Sun and the Moon during different lunar phases. 

Assignment 3 – Drawing
Assignment 3 notes for teachers

This assignment encourages students to begin thinking about what their final project will look like. Students make a drawing of their colony or space station from the perspective of someone in the colony looking out through a window onto the planet.

Lesson Plan 3 – Earth Seasons
In this lesson the students use a lamp and a globe to determine the tilt of the Earth during the different seasons in North America. 

Assignment 4 – Journal Entry
Assignment 4 notes for teachers

This short assignment prepares students for writing their reports about their space colony. They imagine that they are a member of their colony and write a journal entry about a typical day there.

Lesson Plan 4 - Constructing a Model of the Solar System
     Part 1: The relative size of the planets
     Part 2: The relative distances of the planets from the Sun

Final Project
Final Project notes for teachers

Includes instructions for students and grading criteria.

The development of these lessons has been funded through an EPO supplement to research grant NAG5-11964 Durisen from NASA's Origins of Solar Systems Program. Permission is granted to reproduce the lessons contained on this web site for educational or other non-commercial use. Commercial use of these pages is prohibited without the prior written consent of Glenn Simonelli

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Links and Resources
Part 2: Build Your Own Planet



Last updated January 23, 2008.
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Background image courtesy of NASA, H. Ford (JHU), G. Illingworth (USCS/LO), M. Clampin (STSci), G. Hartig (STSci), and the ACS Science team