Adventure in Space
Resources needed: Clear space, balloons, flags, and objects for the moon (optional).
Introduction: Tell the children that they are going to become astronauts. Explain what an astronaut is or show them pictures of an astronaut in space. An astronaut is a person who is trained to travel in space. Discuss some interesting facts about astronauts with the children.
Ten interesting facts about astronauts:
• Yuri Gagarin was the first man to travel in space in 1961. He was Russian. His space shuttle was called “Vostok 1.”
• John Glenn was the first American to travel in space in 1962. His space shuttle was called “Friendship 7.”
• Laika, a stray dog trained by the Russians, was the first living thing to go into space. Unfortunately he died a few hours after launch. Ham, the chimp, was the first animal taken into space by an American astronaut. He arrived safely back to earth after 16 hours in space.
• In space you float because there is no gravity. The inner ear doesn’t need to keep you balanced. When astronauts come back from space they are very clumsy.
• In space, there is no gravity to weigh you down so your spine stretches and relaxes, and the astronaut can grow up to 5cm. or 2 inches.
• In space the sun rises every 90 minutes.
• Astronauts in space can see other planets without a telescope.
• In space it is not possible to breathe air normally. The space suits have oxygen attached to them to help astronauts breathe when they are outside the space shuttle.
• The longest time an astronaut has spent in space is 2 years and 73 days.
• Astronauts have to sleep in buckled bunk beds. If they are not strapped to the bed they will float when they are asleep, as there isn’t any gravity.
The teacher discusses with the children that they are going to go on a special mission to space. Ask for suggestions for the name of their space shuttle. Ask them how they will move in space as there is no gravity. They must move in slow motion with their space suits. Get the children to practice moving around the room very slowly. Get them to jump up and down in slow motion. Once they are used to the slow movements, the story can begin. The teacher will be the pilot.
Pilot: Astronauts, this is space shuttle (name of the space shuttle). My name is (pilot’s name). I am your pilot for this important top-secret space mission. (All the astronauts walk on to the shuttle and take their positions on the floor.) Welcome on board the (name of the space shuttle). Our flight time will be (time) and we will be flying at an altitude of (altitude), at a speed of (speed). At this time all electronic devices must be switched off or set to space shuttle mode. (All the astronauts take out their devices and mime switching them off.) Please take your seat and fasten your seat belt. (The astronauts lie on the floor with their feet in the air.) Astronauts, please prepare for blast off. Everybody count down 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, BLAST OFF. (Everybody count from 10 to 1 and creates a loud explosive sound.) Keep your seat belts on as there is a lot of turbulence. (Astronauts are shaking from side to side while fastening their seats.) We have reached a height of (height). The seat belt sign has been switched off. (The astronauts take off their seat belts, and because there is no gravity they start moving in slow motion and imagine that they are floating. They go forwards and backwards, up and down, side to side as they look out of the windows.) Astronauts, due to a technical problem with the space shuttle we have to make an emergency landing on the moon. Everyone, please take your seats as quickly as possible. (The astronauts sit back in their seats and put their seat belts on.) Everyone hold on tight. (They make an emergency stop and they all go forward and backward.) We are going to be stuck on the moon until we manage to fix the technical problem with the space shuttle. If you would like, you can put on your space suit and go for a walk on the moon. (The astronauts put on their space suits.) Remember to use your oxygen masks. (Everyone puts on their oxygen mask.) You have to move slowly on the moon because you don’t want your space suits to burst open. (They all get off the rocket carefully.) Everyone take your time going down the space shuttle steps. Hold on tight. Now that we are on the moon we should put our country’s flag on the moon. We should all take something from the moon as a souvenir. (Astronauts move around the room carefully and slowly and they mime picking up something and putting it in their space suit pocket.) Oh, look, it is a meteorite. (Teacher throws a balloon in the air which represents a meteorite.) Astronauts, we must make sure that the meteorite doesn’t hit the moon as it will cause a crater. (The astronauts try to keep the balloon from hitting the floor. They work together. The teacher can keep adding meteorites or balloons until they start to drop on the floor and cause craters.) It has turned into a meteorite shower and it is getting worse, and we have to run to the rocket to take cover. (They run as fast as they can in the space suits. Remember they can burst them if they run too fast. They all climb the stairs and get back into the rocket.) Welcome abroad. Please take your seats and fasten your seatbelts. (They lie on the backs with the feet up.) Count down begins 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, lift off. (They count down and make the sound of the engine taking off. They slowly begin to sit up as the rocket levels off and is floating through space.) The seatbelt sign has been switched off. Everyone look out the window. Remember what you see so you can tell everybody on Earth. (The children take off their seatbelts and look out the window.) Astronauts, it is time to return to Earth. Everyone fasten your seatbelts. I hope you enjoyed this space flight and will join us again in the future. (They land safely and everyone alights from the space shuttle.)
Closure: The children sit in a circle. One by one they take out their souvenir from the moon and explain what it is, what it looks like, or what it feels like? Each child says what they saw or experienced in space.
This story is from the book “Movement Start: Over 100 Activities and Stories for Children”.