Are you still over the moon about the recent news that NASA has scoped out the largest batch of Earth-size, habitable-zone planets around a single star? Good news! You can celebrate this momentous discovery with a free space travel lesson plan for grades 6-8, created by Kelly Oh, an IXL Professional Learning Specialist. Read on for more details and to download the lesson.
As students work through this lesson, they will develop an engineering process plan to determine if humans can safely travel to and from one of the seven newly discovered planets.
As an introduction, have students watch the new exoplanets discovery video (included in the lesson plan PDF). After discussing what is shown in the video, students will work together to brainstorm the requirements for human space travel. Students will then complete the engineering-design process vocabulary sheet to ensure understanding of key concepts.
Next, either as a whole class or in small groups, students will read the NASA press release about the planets and complete the top portion of the engineering-design graphic organizers.
In small groups, students will have the opportunity to create their own plan for a human to safely travel to and from one of the seven newly discovered planets. Using the engineering-design process reflection sheet, they will think critically and creatively about details like what kind of prototype they will build, how to evaluate their plan’s success, as well as what to name their plan.
The full lesson plans, including vocabulary and activity sheets, are available for download below: