Spine Book: Living in Space by Katie Daynes*
Related Topics: Jobs People Do, Space
Get ready to blast off as you explore astronauts on earth and in space. Train like an astronaut, explore the International Space Station, find out how astronauts brush their teeth in space, and more!
You can simply have fun with the activities below, or here’s a complete, day-by-day six week unit study for your children grades K-4. Don’t forget to check out the booklist, and additional links and resources at the bottom of this post.
*Each section below is based on a section in Living in Space by Katie Danes. You can check this book out at your local library or purchase it for $4.99 from my online store here. This book is not REQUIRED to do the unit study, but is highly recommended.
Earth and Space
- Look at pictures from space using Google Earth, or look at a globe and talk about what astronauts would see. Identify the continents. Talk about what you see. What are the white parts? Blue? Green? Brown? What else do you see?
- Make an earth craft. You can simply set out craft supplies and let your child create her own artistic interpretation of earth or you can do one of these crafts:
- Do some gravity experiments
- Try dropping things of different weights. Talk about how fast they fall.
- Crater marble drop: Cover the bottom of a shallow pan with flour. Drop a marble from different distances. Look at the craters they make. Are they different? What’s happening?
- Gravity jump:Gravity is what keeps us from floating away. Jump as far as you can. Measure your jump. Try to jump farther and farther. How far can you go? Young children can use non-standard measurements like a stick. For more advanced children, have them figure out the difference between the lengths of their jumps.
- Take a field trip to a pool. Swim around to try to find out what it fells like in space.
- Take a field trip to a playground. Notice all the ways and places you experience gravity.
- Read about how to become an astronaut and look at current space schools.
- Physical exercise is a big part of astronaut training. Get active and train like an astronaut.
Preparing to Go
- Watch real shuttle launch preparations.
- Take a photo tour of space shuttle Discovery’s cockpit.
- Find out all about NASA’s space shuttles on their interactive web site.
- Did you know NASA is building a new space shuttle for a journey to Mars? Read the latest news on shuttle Orion.
- Build and launch a simple baking soda rocket
- Watch a live launch. Spaceflight Now broadcasts many live rocket launches. When rockets aren’t launching they may be streaming a live Q&A session with astronauts currently in space. This is a website you don’t want to miss out on.
- Take a video tour inside space shuttle Discovery.
- Watch a timelapse of an orbit around the earth.
- Do an experiment and learn how satellites orbit.
- Do the math. If the circumference of the earth is 24,901 miles, and it takes 90 minutes to orbit the earth, how fast is the space shuttle moving?
A Home in Space
- Watch the space shuttle Atlantis dock with the International Space Station.
- Do the math. If the International Space Station is the size of two soccer fields, how big is it? A soccer field is about 110 yards by 70 yards. What is the area?
- Read a news article about the new space station NASA plans to build with Russia.
- Look at a map of all the countries that took part in building the current International Space Station.
The Space Station
- Take a video tour of the International Space Station with astronaut Suni Williams.
- Did you know that you can actually see the space station from Earth? Check to see the next time you should be able to spot the space station from your area.
- Watch live streaming from the ISS. You could even watch the live stream when the space station is passing over your area and view your area from the sky.
Eating and Drinking
- Read about the history of food in space.
- Get in the kitchen and make 3 kinds of space food.
- Watch Astronaut Chris Hadley:
- Make an astronaut peanut butter and honey sandwich with a tortilla. How does it taste?
- Pretend you are an astronaut and write a speech, make a video or write a how-to document on eating in space.
- Try an astronaut ice cream sandwich.
- Check out this youtube playlist to watch videos on how to shower, shave, brush your teeth and wash your hands in space.
- Think about some other things that might be difficult to use in space. When do you use water? What about other liquids? Talk about all the things that would be different. If you like to write, write a story about waking up one day and finding your whole house in space. How would you do basic, everyday things? If you are an artist, illustrate your story.
A Day In Space
- Read about a day in space with astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.
- Astronaut Garrett Reisman filmed a video series about his day aboard the ISS. Feel free to watch all seven clips or just watch a bit here and there to see a day in the life of an astronaut.
- Astronauts eat, sleep and make videos in space, but what else do they do all day? Read about all the different things astronauts do in space.
- Did you know that there are lots of experiments going on all the time on the ISS? You can read an overview of them here.
- Watch a video to see how astronauts sleep in space.
- Dress an astronaut and learn the parts of a spacesuit – did you know when astronauts go on a spacewalk, they have to wear a diaper?
- Watch a video about how an astronaut puts on his space suit.
- Look at pictures of space suits from the past, present, and future.
- Make an astronaut helmet:
- Read more about space suits and see a labeled diagram of all the parts.
- Look at pictures and read about the new space suit being designed to wear on Mars.
- Design your own space suit. What would it look like? What features would you include, tell or write about it or draw a picture of what it will look like.
- What is a space walk? How do astronauts prepare? Read all about it right here.
- Watch a spacewalk.
- See images of 50 years of spacewalks.
- Figure out how much you would weigh on the moon.
- Use your own math skills. On the moon, you weigh 1/6 of what you weigh on earth, so you can solve this problem by dividing your weight by 6.
- Plug your weight into a calculator
- See a video of the very first moonwalk.
- Read about all the moonwalks that have ever happened.
Back to Earth
- Watch a video about some of the challenges of coming from a zero gravity environment back to earth.
- Watch space shuttle Discovery land at Kennedy Space Center.
- Check out this infographic about animals in space.
- Visit mars-one.com to learn more about plans to journey to mars.
Check out the Usborne quicklinks that go with “Living in Space” which include how to draw an astronaut, a printable book, videos and more.
- Young Astronauts Space Schools Australia
- Astronaut Training at the Kennedy Space Center
- Read biographies of all of the NASA astronauts
You can go here to make handwriting sheets for your word list.
astronaut, shuttle, international, planet, gravity, fuel, orbit, payload, laboratory, airlock, mission, training
*Denotes books that I have personally reviewed
Usborne books link directly to my Usborne shop website. I earn a commission on sales. No other earnings are associated with other links.
- Astronaut by Heather Miller
- Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca* – This is a family favorite that we read again and again.
- Mousternaut by Mark Elly* – This fictional book would be a great way to open up study of all the animals who have been to space.
- Official Astronaut’s Handbook by Louie Stowell
- Astronaut Handbook by Meghan McCarthy
- Shine-A-Light: On the Space Station by Carron Brown
- Usborne’s Big Book of Rockets and Spacecraft by Louie Stowell
- I Want to Be an Astronaut by Byron Barton
- If You Decide To Go To the Moon* by Faith McNulty
- Astronaut Living in Space by Kate Hayden
- On the Launch Pad: A Counting Book About Rockets by Micheal Dahl
- Becoming a Spacewalker: My Journey to the Stars by Astronaut Jerry L. Ross
- Mea Jemison: Awesome Astronaut by Jill C. Wheeler
- One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong by Don Brown
- Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue
- John Glenn: Young Astronaut by Micheal Burgan
- Neil Armstrong: Young Flyer by Montrew Dunham
- Who Was Sally Ride? by Megan Stine
- Who Was Neil Armstrong by Roberta Edwards
- Real World Math Blue Level: Journey to the Moon by Wendy Clemson
Activities, Toys, and Extras
None of these items are required to do this unit study, however, if you have a child who is particularly interested in a topic, this is a great list to expand learning opportunities. It also might be something to hold on to for Christmas and birthdays. Some of these things can also be helpful to encourage a sibling who is learning along side of all your other kids, but may not be as interested in the topic.
- Safari Ltd. Space Toob
- Space Shuttle with Astronauts
- Green Toys Rocket with Astronauts
- Astronaut Dress up Costume
- Barbie astronaut costume
- LEGO sets
- Playmobil Sets