Lesson Plan

International Space Station from the beginning to 15 years later

Identify the improvements, changes, and experiments of ISS during its 15 years in space
Megan S.
Classroom teacher
Neil Armstrong 5-6 Middle School
Bethel Park, PA
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My Grades 5
My Subjects English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to identify specific equipment/ISS pieces that have been added to the ISS over 15 years. 

Students will be able to make a timeline highlighting 10 changes to the ISS from 2000  to 2015.

Students will compare and contrast what changes have occurred to the ISS from 2000 to 2015.

English Language Arts
Grades 5 - 7
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook--grab student attention with brief video about ISS

Grab students' attention with a short musical video containing facts about the International Space Station.  This video can be watched as a class or in small groups.  

2 Direct Instruction-focus students on activity related to ISS

Using the website:  nasa.gov   direct students to a short article that class will read together.  The article discusses the launch of the first part of the ISS on October 31, 2000.

Following reading the article, students will work in groups of 3 to 4 students to complete next activity.  

3 Guided Practice--working in small groups using nasa.gov website

Students will complete 3 pieces of the lesson in this step in groups of 3 to 5 students.

1.  Read 15 changes through the use of gif images on nasa.gov.  This will assist students with completing the timeline in the next step.  

2.  Read about the changes from 2000 through now.  Students will compare and contrast what life was like in 2000 to now.  

4 Independant Practice--using information through lesson to create a ISS timeline

Activity: Creating

This activity can be modified depending on level of students.  Students can work in the small groups or individually.

 Students will create a timeline of the 15 years of the International Space Station.  Students can create their own timeline by measuring intervals to indicate a certain number of years or you can use a teacher made timeline with intervals already identified.  

Using the information that students have gained from the nasa.gov website, students will identify 10 important events/experiments/additions/changes to the ISS over the past 15 years to put on their timeline.  

To assess:  

1.  Are the events/experiments/additions/changes important?

2.  Are there 10 events and are they accurately placed?

3.  Is the timeline drawn correctly (intervals evenly spaced) and are there events from the 15 years not just the first and second years?

I'm always looking for students that looked for something extra.  Not just the items shown specifically in the lesson.  Did the student(s) look further into the nasa.gov website or into another source for information about the ISS to include on their timeline?  This a great way for students to show what they know while giving them the autonomy to pick 10 events that were important to them.  

5 Wrap Up--showing what the students know about changes for the past 15 years on the ISS

Activity: Assessing

As a class, draw a Venn diagram.  Students will compare and contrast the changes that have occurred from 2000 to 2015 on the ISS.  Student groups or individual groups will contribute to building the Venn diagram.  

A more formal assessment could be to have the students write an essay comparing and contrasting the changes that have occurred over the 15 years on the ISS.  Depending on the grade, the essay could be more detailed.  In science class, I am always looking for opportunities for the students to write about what we are learning.  This would be a perfect opportunity for that to happen.  Students can take notes using the Venn diagram to assist with their essay.  Created timelines can be used to assist with their essay as well.