In this space theme STEAM lesson children can learn about space travel and design their own junk model rocket using recycled materials.
Junk model rocket lesson plan
Would you like to travel into space? Where would you go? How would you get there?
People have been wondering about space for thousands of years. One of the earliest known astronomers was an Egyptian called Claudius Ptolemy who created models to calculate the movement of the planets.
Muslim scholars in Babylon (modern day Iraq and Syria) developed ideas about stars being grouped into constellations.
Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer who used telescopes to see Saturn’s rings and the moons around Jupiter.
In modern times countries including the United State of America and Russia have developed rockets that can take people into space.
On July 20th 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first people to walk on the moon.
Today the International Space Station, the biggest object ever flown in space, is in orbit around the Earth. Teams of astronauts from 15 different countries, both men and women, take turns to live on the station and carry out experiments to learn about movement, biology, weather, and space.
The International Space Station orbits the Earth 16 times every day. You can track it here and if you time it right you might even see it pass you overhead.
Junk model rockets
Let’s make our own imaginary rockets today.
:: junk model materials such as: recyclables like plastic bottles, milk cartons, and drinks cups, cardboard packaging
:: elastic bands
:: pencils and pens
:: sticky tape and/or glue
Design a spacecraft
Imagine you are building a rocket to travel into space. What would your spacecraft look like? What design elements would it need?
Draw out a few designs on paper. You can use these photographs of NASA spacecraft for inspiration.
Pick a design to develop and find junk model materials you can use to start building your craft.
What shape do you want your spacecraft to be?
Does it need wings or windows?
How will it land?
Where will it get energy from so it can move?
How many people will be able to fit inside? Will they live inside your spacecraft or only use it for transport?
Do you need to carry any cargo?
Use tape and glue to build your spacecraft and practice flying it around.
Space Unit lesson plans and printables
Our Space Unit gives you a five-day programme of lessons to learn about planets, stars, our solar system and our galaxy with your children.
This unit is the fifth week of our free Homeschool Curriculum which gives you a year-round programme of all-planned-and-prepped-for-you thematic lesson plans.
This Space Unit is also available as a pack you can download and print out. You’ll get all the lessons, activities and all the printables.
Alternatively, if you’re not a Supporter, you can purchase this unit as a stand alone item here.