Space Settlement Design Project

Grade Level: 6-12

Materials needed:

Butcher paper, poster boards, colored markers, modeling materials (optional), like styrafoam, paint and sticks. Hypercard program for Macintosh computers or access to the WWW.

Curriculum topics:

Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Applied Engineering, Vocational Studies, Space sciences, Language Arts, Applied Art and Design.


Description of the Project:

You design a space settlement: a nice place to live in, orbiting in space some distance from the earth. Your design should include a drawing, 3D model and any other means to help visualize your settlement, and a written description of your colony. Your written report should include the physical size of your colony, number of people that are going to live there, and future expansion plans if you have any. Finally, you need to present an oral report to the class using your drawings and notes. You can have your design in html format (for Internet) and feel free to use computer graphics.

Project

The students form "aerospace companies" in groups of up to five to work on their designs. I let the students form their own "companies". However, the students should be made aware that besides scientific thinkers the company would need writers, artists who could draw, dreamers who could come up with ideas, company administrators who could make sure the deadlines are met etc. This talent range covers all students so students can see they can contribute in different manners to their groups. It also helps to diversify the groups. The students in a group receive the same grade. Groups can decide to expell a student from their group at any time for lack of participation. The groups should be given class time (about 20 minutes at a time) to develop, discuss and sketch their designs. I found that most of the work is done at home for this project, but it is still very important to allow some class time.

Product

The groups write a paper explaining their design and present it to the class. They draw their design on butcher paper and if available produce 3-D models using various modeling materials. Their design should address the needs of the people who will live in future space colonies.

Restrictions:

The technology should be based on today's technology even though you can expand it in the future. You cannot break any laws of nature as we understand them today.

Special considerations In designing a space settlement and living in space:

Start by asking yourself what would you need to live in a space settlement:


Resources

Hypercard Program:

I wrote this program to help you with the design. The program gives you background information on space, the solar system and space settlements: the main advantage of the program is, it helps you with mathematical calculations based on NASA's studies.

Internet

We will use the World Wide Web, mainly NASA's homepage on space settlements and related links.

NASA's publications

Various books on the subject

Important note:

You should acknowledge all your sources in your report.

Author: Tug Sezen

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