Title: “Be a space mechanic”
Description: Simulate conditions in space (floating, wearing a spacesuit, time constraints…) and perform a simple task similar to one performed by an astronaut during an Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) on the outside of the Space Station.
Objective(s): Experience the difficulties that an astronaut encounters during an EVA when wearing a spacesuit and floating around.
- This activity appeals to children as it is like playing a game. It is also a good way to make them aware of the difficulties faced by an astronaut when performing simple tasks while floating in space in a spacesuit.
- In almost all groups, children should realise that it is easier to create the second initial. The discussion could therefore be an adequate moment to talk about the importance of training in a learning process, and how easier things are if we repeat them regularly. You may try to make them investigate why by asking some extra questions like: what did you learn from your first experience? How did you adapt to the conditions during the second trial?
- You may want to introduce this activity to the children with the following questions: “Do you think it is difficult for an astronaut to be outside in space and perform simple tasks on the Space Station? If yes, what do you think the difficulties are? Read the description of the activities and list the difficulties you expect to face during the exercise, from the most difficult to the least difficult. For each of the difficulties listed, explain why you think it is going to be difficult and if you think that the astronauts face the same problems while working outside in space during an EVA?” After the activity, you can add the following question during the discussion: “Would you list the difficulties in a different order now that you have done the activity?”
- The astronauts do not feel the pull of gravity, which means that they float around weightlessly. The closest feeling to this is floating in water. You may want to finish up this activity by asking the children to imagine what it would be like to re-do this activity while floating in water. Astronauts who plan to do an EVA train many times until the movements become almost automatic and they feel more comfortable inside their spacesuit, and working while floating around, etc…