Living Space

Difficulty: Moderate

Duration: Four to eight 50-minute classes

Materials: Varies depending on lesson


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Background

Long-duration space exploration requires astronauts to spend extended periods of time living in a confined, indoor environment. Because of this, it has become increasingly important to understand the impacts of environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide on human health. When astronauts are sent to the International Space Station (ISS), the environmental conditions aboard the Station are closely monitored by ground personnel using sensor technologies that can alert them to potentially dangerous conditions.

The Living Space project explores how indoor environmental conditions influence health. Participants identify the best conditions for healthy living, and recommend changes to improve their learning environment. This knowledge is important on Earth, on the ISS, and for the future of long-duration space travel.

Mission description

Participants will begin by studying the key environmental conditions that are monitored and managed to keep astronauts healthy on the ISS. Then participants will measure environmental conditions such as temperature, relative humidity, and CO2 in their learning environment and submit the data to the Let's Talk Science national database. This will enable participants to compare their data with information from other participating groups across Canada, as well as data from the ISS. After developing their understanding of optimal ranges for environmental conditions, and collecting data on their current environment, participants will develop a plan for improving environmental conditions in their learning environment. Once the improvement action plan has been implemented, participants will reflect on the findings of their investigation in a digital report.

Timeline

Description DurationTable note 1
Inquiry: Identify, measure and record the environmental variables that affect physical and mental health on Earth and on the ISS.

50–100 minutes + time for data collection

Improvement: Analyze data and develop an action plan for improving conditions. 50–100 minutes + time to implement action plan
Report: Consolidate and reflect upon the data gathered during the investigation in order to communicate findings using a digital format. 50–100 minutes + time to prepare and present findings
Digital literacy activities (optional): Develop computational thinking skills by programming research instruments related to the Living Space project. 50–75 minutes per activity
Total 150–300 minutes for lessons

Learning activities

Learning goals

Mission preparation

Materials

Set-up

Mission participation

Visit the Let's Talk Science Website to participate.

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