Space Settlement Design Lesson Plan

GRADES: 6-12

Lesson created by: Bryan Yager, 1998


This web based lesson plan allows students to work individually or in teams in designing an Orbital Space Settlement. When completed the design and written work will be presented to the class and submitted to the NASA-Ames sponsored contest.

Key Questions

Time Frame

Anywhere from 2-5 weeks, based on five 45 minute class sections.


Getting Ready

Use an overhead projection system for group instruction to visit the following sites: Be sure to bookmark these sites for the students.

  1. Orbital Space Settlement Site site at: This site will provide necessary information for the students to get started.
  2. Space Colony Art from the 1970's at: This will provide students with a series of artistic renderings that will assist them.
  3. Space Settlement FAQ at: This site will answer many questions on space settlements.
  4. NASA Ames/Stanford 1975 Summer Study at:
  5. Needs Menu at: This provides information on what is needed to live in a space settlement.
  6. Space colony designer's corner for students at This site will enable the students to compare design considerations and provide relevant statistics on the design of their choice.

Classroom Activity

Team building

  1. Divide students into teams of up to 5. They will be assigned different responsibilites by their elected project manager. A team member may be responsible for a poster, research, CAD rendering, writing or editing. Have each team brainstorm design ideas using white boards and dry erase pens. They will also determine the name of the settlement and a logo (optional).
  2. Each team will decide on the 7-10 topics that will be covered in their written report.
  3. See Suggested Areas for relevant topics that might be covered at
  4. Once the teams have begun their research, have the project manager report to the instructor each day on progress or any difficulties encountered.
  5. If necessary assist the project manager in delegating responsibilities so each student is responsible for an equitable amount of research and written work. Consult the Space Colony Jigsaw for a guidleine at

Classroom Activity

Models/Visual Aids


When complete, each team will have a written report, CAD rendering, and a model to present to the class. If time permits have the students present their work to the class using the overhead projection system.

You may also use a Quiz as an evaluation tool to check for understanding.

Background for Teachers

Space Settlement Home Page

Author: Bryan Yager Belmont School District, January 29, 2003

Curator: Al Globus
If you find any errors on this page contact Al Globus.
Space Settlement hompage

This site was hosted by the NASA Ames Research Center from 1994-2018 and is now hosted by:

National Space Society