Science levels 7 and 8

Lesson overview - living in zero gravity

This lesson is part of a Level 7 and 8 Science unit. This lesson is focused on scientific solutions that can be used to solve contemporary issues.

Victorian Curriculum - Science

Levels 7 and 8

Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues. These solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations (VCSSU090).

Learning intention

We are learning how astronauts live in zero gravity.

Success criteria

I can describe a number of the scientific solutions that allow astronauts to live in space.

Extension ideas

Extend the success criteria (outcome): I can evaluate the ethical implications of scientific solutions.

Lesson sequence

  • Form students into small groups. Ask students to discuss in their groups how astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) would manage tasks such as:
    • drinking water
    • eating food
    • going to the toilet in zero gravity.
  • Provide students with information about the International Space Station (ISS).
  • Assign each group one of the topics covered in the discussion to investigate. Groups must:
    • explain how astronauts complete the selected activity
    • explain the science that allows the astronauts to complete the selected activity in this way
    • consider if there are any ethical issues associated with these scientific solutions. Students may need guiding questions for this task. For example: are there any dangers to people or places associated with this scientific solution?
  • Groups report their findings to the whole class.

Extension ideas

High-ability students can be grouped together for this task or could investigate other situations where scientific developments are being used to solve contemporary problems. For example, renewable energy solutions. They could also be asked to test a scientific solution that might be ethically dubious. For example:

  • Should we spend valuable resources (e.g. money, talent) that could be used on Earth to explore our solar systems?
  • What level of risk are we willing to tolerate as we launch crewed missions to space?
  • What measures do we need to put in place to avoid contaminating extra-planetary environments with earth's pathogens?


This lesson plan is adapted from the Year 7 Science by Doing: Looking up unit.