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Tour Home: How to use the Internet in Your Classroom
Tour Home: The New Teacher Handbook
How to Use the Internet in Your Classroom: Lesson Plan: Shuttle off to Space

Rosemary Shaw is a teacher at Millennium Middle School Orlando, Fl and contributor to
How to Use the Internet in Your ClassroomE-mail Rosemary

Purchase from our Online Store: How to Use the Internet in Your Classroom

Lesson Plan

Shuttle off to Space

Computer Science


Materials Required: 
Computers, TV, Internet access, VCR, digital cameras 

Concepts Taught: 
Students will utilize the Internet, bulletin boards, chats, email, html, digital cameras, use of scanners and the basics of essays for this project.

Students should realize that they are using the computer as a tool to solve problems. The Internet and other computer applications should be introduced and discussed. The teacher should train students on appropriate Internet behavior and etiquette.

  • Students will gather data using the Internet. 
  • Students will use email as a way of communication and to share information across long distances. 
  • Students will collaborate with their peers. 
  • Students will learn how to use other types of references, such as first person, via moderated chats with NASA. 
  • Students will analyze information and solve the given problems. 
  • Students will learn to write essays in proper form to present their information.
  • Students will use HTML and advanced web design techniques to create web pages as a showcase for their projects.
  • Students will learn about copywrites, plagrism and appropriation of material from the web.
Problems To Be Solved:
(My students used the SpaceDay.Com Design Challenges) 
This year the design challenges included:
  1. Creating a food with packaging that will last three months, creating a recipe for the food, and a menu.
  2. Creating something that will retrieve objects dropped by astronauts during space walks.
  3. Create emergency plans for such things as fire, loss of electricity, and loss of air pressure. 
Other possible problems to be solved:
  1. If the Earth were destroyed or for some reason could no longer sustain life, which planet would you recommend relocating to and why?
  2. NASA is preparing to create a new colony on Mars. What will it take to get 100 people there, and then how will you sustain the colony? Who would you take choose to take there, and why? 
  3. Life on board the International Space Station is about to become more exciting as astronauts who are parents are going to be allowed to take their children. What are the pros and cons of this make-believe decision and what new emergencies might arise out of this? 
Activity 1 - Students watch the Discovery Channel's Inside the International Space Station. After watching the video, the students' talk about what they most like about possibly living on the ISS. Next they research using the Internet, different aspects of the ISS that interest them individually. 

Activity 2 - Students will create a basic web page, about whatever interested them about space or the ISS, which will be the launching pad for their final web page.

Activity 3 - Students learn how to write an essay using the 5-paragraph essay form. Using this concept, the students take what information they have and add the essay as content to their web pages.

Activity 4 - Students create pictures in paint about the information discussed on their web pages. They learn how to manipulate these pictures in Microsoft PhotoEditor. Also, the students will learn how to obtain pictures from the net, get proper authorization and how to save these pictures and use them on their web pages.

Activity 5 - Students are set up on free-moderated email accounts and taught how to use email responsibly. Students begin emailing epals that the teacher has pre-arranged.

Activity 6 - Students will be placed into groups of 2-4, and will either be assigned, or will choose their problem to research. 

Activity 7 - Students use moderated bulletin boards to post queries and moderated chats to discuss their problems. (Recommended: NASA Quest chats with NASA engineers, astronauts, etc).

Activity 8 - Students will analyze information, discuss problems, contact their e-pals about the project, and then write an essay with a solution to the problem.

Activity 9 - Students will create a web page and include pictures they have drawn and manipulated, the essay that included the solution to their problems, and a digital picture taken of the group. 

Students will be graded using a rubric that indicates to what degree of success the students were able to accurately analyze data and answer the given problems. They will be graded on grammar and essay style. The web pages will be graded on correct form; formatting; and use of colors, graphics, tables, links and lists.


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