Moving and Working In Space
Historically, a tether's primary use was to supply oxygen to the astronauts while its secondary use was to keep the astronaut anchored to the spacecraft. It was found to be cumbersome and it limited the movement of the astronauts. Today, they are used primarily as a safety measure to keep astronauts anchored as they work in the cargo bay. Scientists and researchers introduced a slide wire along which a tether could be moved so that larger distances could be covered while completing tasks.
Today, they are used primarily as a safety measure to keep astronauts anchored as they work in the cargo bay. Scientists and researchers introduced a slide wire along which a tether could be moved so that larger distances could be covered while completing tasks.
Four students must each complete a set of four manual tasks. The restrictions are that they must complete the tasks in a limited time while wearing garden or rubber gloves. They must also remain attached to a line and a tether at all times in order to move around in a confined space.
This activity teaches students about an astronaut's challenge of moving within the confines of a limited space and working within the confines of a space suit (more specifically, gloves which reduce finger sensitivity) to complete very manual tasks.
Materials, Preparation and Game Play
Three main components need to be prepared for this activity:
- Activity Packages (to simulate manual tasks);
- A space within which to work (to simulate slide wires and limits of work space). Materials and preparation are listed below.
1. Activity Packages
- Four students will each be assigned a different colour.
- A set of four manual tasks/activity packages will be assigned to the students. The students must find the packs that match the colour they've been assigned.
- They will be required to complete all four manual tasks while wearing garden or rubber gloves within four minutes.
- The four tasks are:
- stringing three Lifesavers candies in a particular colour sequence (red-yellow- orange) and then tying the string so that the Lifesavers don't fall off;
- attaching three pieces of Lego or interlocking blocks together;
- wrapping a small present;
- folding a letter and placing it in an envelope.
You will need:
- 16 plastic ziplock bags (4 activities x 4 people)
- 4 packs of Lifesavers
- 4 pieces of string measuring 10 inches
- 12 pieces of Lego or interlocking blocks borrowed from the primary grades
- 4 small items to wrap with wrapping paper
- Wrapping paper cut in four pieces
- 4 packages of tape
- 4 pieces of paper (8.5 x 11 inches)
- 4 envelopes
- 4 different coloured pieces of paper, each cut into four
- A marker or pen
- 4 sets of garden or rubber gloves
(reduces finger sensitivity to simulate gloves in space)
- 4 sets of four colour-coded bags need to be packaged as follows:
- Bag 1: a roll of Lifesavers, string, coloured paper (e.g. red for student assigned to this colour) labelled 1
- Bag 2: 3 pieces of Lego, coloured paper (e.g. red) labelled 2
- Bag 3: item for wrapping, wrapping paper and tape, coloured paper (e.g. red) labelled 3
- Bag 4: piece of paper, envelope, coloured paper (e.g. red) labelled 4
Students can make the tethers. The materials required are as follows:
The Slide Wires and Space Delineators
You will need:
More Activities to Stimulate Interest and Learning
- What were their observations?
- What senses were key in completing the manual tasks?
- How could movement in space be improved?
- What else might tethers be used for?
- What are other means for anchoring astronauts in place?
- What are other means for maneuvering in space?
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