February 2023

Blast Off to Space!

Academic Standards



Reading Objective:

Students will identify ways that astronauts live and explore science in space.


Reading Level:

Lexile: 510L; GRL: K


Next Generation Science Standards:

Practice 3: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

2-LS2-1: Do plants need sunlight and water to grow?



gravity, experiments, nutrients, repairs

Use these questions to check students’ understanding and stimulate discussion:


1. What holds our bodies down on Earth?


2. What are some things that floated on the Space Station?

(fruit, cakes, and Jessica—everything!)

3. What did Jessica try to do in a science experiment? (to grow radishes)

4. Explain how this could help astronauts in the future. 

(Answers will vary.)

Go online to print or project the Reading Checkpoint.


  • The International Space Station orbits, or circles, Earth about 16 times a day.
  • Jessica loved looking out the windows at Earth.
  • On Earth, she plays rugby. Her team won a national championship!
  • She also likes soccer, rock climbing, and writing.

Materials: plastic cups, tape, yarn or string, pencils, copies of the skill sheet

Overview: Kids will practice astronaut-style teamwork as they land and launch a plastic cup “module.


  1. Before the lesson, collect enough plastic cups for each group of 4-6 kids to have one. Cut a 3-ft piece of yarn or string for each child.
  2. Gather kids where there’s space to move. Remind them that astronauts need teamwork. Ask the kids if they can show the teamwork required to land and launch a space module. (A module can be part of a rocket. Astronauts can ride in them.)
  3. Divide kids into groups of 4-6. Each kid gets a piece of string. Appoint a leader of each group. Give them a cup and a roll of tape.
  4. The leader supervises as each kid tapes one end of their string to the cup.
  5. Launch time! Kids hold the other ends of their strings. They stand in a circle, and raise the cup together. Can they do it so it doesn’t tip? They can toss in a few manipulatives to serve as pretend astronauts.