Living and Working in Space: Energy


SciGuides are a collection of thematically aligned lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources for teachers to use with their students centered on standards-aligned science concepts.

What is energy? Scientifically speaking, energy is the ability to do work or the ability to move an object. How can energy be changed? What forms of energy are needed to support life? These and other questions are explored in this guide. Students are intrigued by the idea of living and working in space and their curiosity can be used to better understand the different forms of energy on Earth and in the universe. Space science can be used to teach the abstract concepts of energy and matter by learning about the ways NASA astronauts, scientists, and engineers continue to explore these concepts to develop space colonies and exploration vehicles of the future.

The concept of energy is intertwined throughout our study of science whether it be life, physical, Earth or space. As NASA and its world partners continue to build the International Space Station, scientists and engineers on Earth will use the new information to improve our lives in many ways. We may learn new ways of changing, or transforming, energy to create new technologies that can help us use energy more efficiently, and to better understand how energy sources impact humans globally. We can use this knowledge to protect our environment through the use of renewable (such as wind, solar, air) and alternative (such as geothermal, nuclear) resources, to produce new and better medicines to treat illness and disease, and to create new and improved technologies for the advancement of Earth and space science.

This web guide offers teachers a motivational “hook” to get students engaged in the study of energy by providing teacher-evaluated links to NASA resources. It is through these links that students discover how living in space relates to living on Earth. Lesson plans and web links correlate to the National Science Education Standards (NSES) as well as technology standards and the AAAS benchmarks. NASA has a wealth of educational resources available online; this guide is meant to provide teachers with a streamlined way to incorporate these resources into the classroom.

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Reviews (5)
  • on Wed Sep 17, 2014 6:06 AM

SciGuides are really fantastic.When it's time to teach about the energy aspects of space travel, I can be confident knowing I'll have the Living and Working in Space: Energy SciGuide to go to for lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources. I'll be able to create outstanding lessons in a shorter amount of time since many resources are easily accessible in this SciGuide.

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:26 PM

I used this resource very successfully during my 2013 NASA Summer of Innovation summer school class! Loved the resource and the interactions!

James Johnson  (Custer City, PA)
James Johnson (Custer City, PA)

  • on Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:28 PM

I found this guide easy to use with my fifth grade class. It was my first time teaching this module, so the guide supported me with instruction. The weblinks were also engaging, and my students thoroughly enjoyed looking at them.

Jenna F
Jenna F

  • on Fri May 04, 2012 5:57 PM

I found the information contained in this guide immediately useful for my science instruction. Because energy is such a large standard for our 5th grade science, it was extremely helpful in assisting me with design hands on activities for my students. It is divided into 4 themes: Energy and technology, energy efficiency and conservation, energy forms and transformations, and impacts of energy technology. What really helped is that all the lessons were tied to the theme of space exploration. I found the “Can you see the light?” lesson to be very valuable – the students really enjoyed working with the UV beads. I will definitely use information from this SciGuide in my future instruction.

Duncan Sutherland
Duncan Sutherland

  • on Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:36 AM

This sci-guide contains a lot of classic lessons on energy, matter, and motion, but with a twist. NASA's rich collection of resources are provided in this sci-guide in order to provide a the necessary conduit to apply earth concepts of basic physics to the space realm.

Ronaldo Relador  (Bowie, MD)
Ronaldo Relador (Bowie, MD)

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