from Come Fly With Me – Exploring Science through aviation and aerospace concepts.

SUBJECT: Science
GRADE: 7,8,9
TIME: Several periods
TYPE OF ACTIVITY: Student Research Constructing Models
TEACHING STRATEGY: Open Discovery Guided Discovery
CONCEPTS: Living on the Moon Colonies Human Needs
SKILLS: Reading for Data Futurizing Construction

Objectives: To provide students with a greater understanding of the moon; to apply concepts of the moon to futurizing about what it would be like to live and work there.

living on the moon – illustration

Materials: Books, pamphlets, and online sites about what we’ve learned about the moon.
Teacher Background Information: Just as Galileo’s telescopic observations of the moon opened a new era in modern astronomy, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin‘s walk on the moon opened a new discipline in science – lunar science. Since it is quite likely that we and our students will see some sort of colonizing of the moon, it is important for our young people to know more about our nearest neighbor and potential home away from home.

In addition, it is important that students attempt to futurize – to use what they understand and know to be true now to try to predict what life might be in the future. Only with this ability will they have even a minimal chance of controlling their futures and we owe them, at least, that.

  1. Discuss with the class some of the things they understand to be true about the moon (our nearest neighbor in space; accessible by Saturn rocket and lunar lander as well as other rockets; one sixth the gravity of earth; waterless, airless and lifeless; similar crust and about the same age as earth; pummeled by meteorites; cratered; sunlit on one side, for example). As questions arise, write them down and devise ways with the class to find answers.
  2. Explain to the students they will need to know as much as they can about the moon in order to do some intelligent futurizing about a moon colony they could live on. Provide the students with the resource material you have and time to check further with the library or to write for information if materials are scarce.
  3. Once the students have some information from which to work, break them up into groups of 3 or 4 and explain they will be constructing a “moon city” out of whatever materials they wish to use.
  4. Explain to the students that this is a very integrated activity. They should know that they will be expected to use their skills in science, mathematics, architecture, sociology, psychology, political science and economics. They will be expected to consider health care, education and the question of who’s in charge on this colony. It is expected that, though people can travel back and forth from the city to the earth (just as some raw materials and finished goods will) most of the people will live out their lives on the moon city and all contingencies for life must be accounted for.

The teacher’s ability to encourage students to focus on what they know and what they need to find out before and during the construction is very important. It is very easy for students to fall into science fiction without reality based concepts and, though that can be fun, it does not help to meet the objectives of this lesson. Make certain the students know that evaluation will be based on what you have explained are your expectations about the project. In addition, they will be evaluated on how well they discuss their “city” and answer questions from the class about it.

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