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Life Science Unit . Lesson: Survival/ Cool Space Suits Activity: Keeping Your Cool. Dr. Shirley Campbell [email protected] . Gov LS5C1A1. Environment in Space. When do Astronauts wear space suits?. Environment in Space.

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Life science unit

Life Science Unit

Lesson: Survival/ Cool Space SuitsActivity: Keeping Your Cool

Dr. Shirley Campbell

[email protected] Gov


Environment in space
Environment in Space

When do Astronauts wear space suits?

Environment in space1
Environment in Space

From what hazards do astronauts have to be protected while they are in space?

Environment in space2
Environment in Space

How can color be used to help protect astronauts in space?

Protecting the human body in space
Protecting the Human Body in Space

  • Cooling system for the body to protect it while it is in space

  • Activity 1 – Keeping Your Cool

    • Explore technology used to keep the Space Station and astronauts cool

    • Explore the concept of using absorbing and reflecting features of colors

  • Activity 2 – Cool Suits

Body protection in space
Body Protection in Space

  • Against temperature

    • Hot and cold!

  • Air to breath

  • Air pressure

Keeping your cool
Keeping Your Cool

How can color help to keep the temperature inside the space suit and space station comfortable?

The students will…

  • collect data by measuring temperature in 2 different colored envelopes (black and white).

  • use data to infer which color, black or white, reflects energy better and which color absorbs energy better.

Before the students arrive
Before the Students Arrive

  • Determine where your test area will be

    • Windowsill, sunny outside location, or artificial source like a light

  • Make envelopes – one white and one black per group

    • Requires construction paper, stapler or glue

    • Put the cotton balls in before you close the top

    • Remember the space for the thermometer!

As you begin
As You Begin

NASA’s 21st Century Explorer 30-second newsbreak, “How will your imagination help you become an explorer?”

(Download the newsbreak at

Scientific method
Scientific Method

This activity is a great opportunity to practice and emphasize scientific method

  • Review the problem

  • Observe

  • Hypothesize

  • Test

What y ou w ill n eed
What You Will Need

Per Class

  • 1 thermometer to serve as the control for the entire class (calibrated in units of 1-2 degrees Celsius)

  • Sunny location OR heat source (like a lamp)

    And Per Group (of 2 or 3 students)

  • 1 ruler or measuring tape per group

  • 2 construction paper envelopes (made earlier)

    • Cotton Balls, too

  • 2 thermometers (calibrated in units of 1-2 degrees Celsius)

  • Stopwatch or watch with second hand

  • Shoebox (don’t need lid)

    And Per Student

  • Printout of Cool Suits Student Section

Activity procedure
Activity Procedure

  • Review the problem – Which color reflects energy better? Which absorbs energy better?

  • Have students read Observation section and discuss in groups

  • Whole group discussion – characteristics of colors of clothing, similarities, seasonal, etc.

  • Help students to use the KWL chart (in handout) to organize prior knowledge, identify interests, and make real-world connections.

  • Have students share predictions and create Hypotheses, then share with group.

  • Test using this procedure.


Place “control” thermometer at test site to keep track of temp without envelopes.

  • Be sure to tell students where this is and why it is there

  • Announce beginning temp to students and show them where to record temp


Each student group should

  • place both envelopes inside a box to hold them upright.

  • carefully place the thermometers into the envelopes.

    • Let rest for 10 minutes, then take initial temp.


  • Move envelopes from box and place in sunny site, making sure each gets the same light)

  • Predict temp changes and discuss within group

  • Measure and record temp every 5 minutes

  • Repeat last two steps for 30 minutes

Study data
Study Data

  • Study recorded data within small groups

  • Discuss the answers to the Cool Suits Student Section questions. Have the students update the LEARNED column in their KWL chart.

  • Help students write a conclusion by restating their hypothesis and explaining how the results do, or do not, support their hypothesis.

New questions
New Questions

  • How does your data compare to the class data. What patterns are there?

  • How do these findings relate to the development of new space suits for space exploration?

  • What they wonder now? What do you think we should do next to learn more about this?

More information
More Information

  • Alignment to standards

  • Curriculum Explorations

    • Math, LA, Engineering

  • Career Links

Additional thoughts or advice
Additional Thoughts or Advice

Student Evaluation Rubric

Activity 2 cool suits
Activity 2 – Cool Suits

  • Later today…..

  • Questions?