Life inside the Space Station
Just like inside a space shuttle, the ISS has controlled atmosphere and astronauts do not need special clothing. However, if they go outside the spacecraft there is no atmospheric pressure or oxygen, so they must wear a special space suit. This suit must protect them from flying debris, insulate them from extreme temperatures and provide oxygen to breathe.
Activity: Your little space learners will enjoy making mock space suits (helmets, vests, and backpacks) from paper bags and other recycled materials. You can find loads of ideas and instructions on Pinterest.
Life on the ISS is different from life on Earth. Everything in space must be anchored down, because things float due to gravity changes. The space station has a kitchen equipped with water, microwave ovens and refrigerators. Astronauts eat basic food off trays that are strapped to their laps. They also use some dehydrated food sources that are easy to prepare.
Activity: For fun, pass out dried fruits to the kids for a snack. If available, use a dehydrator to make dried fruit showing the children how fresh apples, pineapple rings or apricots dry in a few days. You can also make veggie slices.
The astronauts sleep in private cabins (just big enough for one person) inside a sleeping bag. They bathe, brush their teeth and use the bathroom like us, but with special equipment since gravity is an issue in space. Astronauts relax with music, reading books, and sending emails to family and friends, just like us, but looking outside a window to see Earth go by.
The scientists must also exercise every day to keep their muscles and bones in shape. Remember that gravity is an issue and the body is weightless and floats.
Activity: Invite the kids to pretend to be astronauts and exercise doing jumping jacks, push-ups, or running in place. Pretend to float. How does it feel to be weightless and light as a feather?
View this very informative video of life in the space station. Your students will learn so much and enjoy this documentary.