Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan #5

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Learning about Space: Web Scavenger Hunt

Grades 7 to 12

Language Arts, Journalism, Science, Computer Science

In this lesson, students explore the July 1999 space shuttle mission. Students will first discuss an article about this mission's goals and historic importance. Students then participate in a Web "scavenger hunt" to find related Web sites and write an article about the Columbia space mission, current space endeavours and Canada's involvement in Space.

Use SchoolNet News Network (SNN)'s website: http://www.snn-rdr.ca/snn/ to assist you with journalism skills, interaction with other student/teachers throughout Canada and as a safe, structured publishing environment for your students writing.



1. Read and discuss ‘Fuel leak wasn't shuttle's only flaw'. Focus on the following questions:

  • What prevented the space shuttle from launching on July 20nd and July 22, 1999?
  • What women other than Col. Collins are mentioned in this article, and in what ways are these women significant figures in history?
  • What is the goal of this shuttle mission?

. Web Scavenger Hunt: The scavenger hunt will focus on aspects of the space program as well as Canada's involvement. Students must not use the NASA website as a resource. Each student will be asked to find and cite one website on a specific topic.

  1. Photo of crew of the Columbia STS-93, their names, responsibilities on the flight
  2. Detailed Description of the Chandra X-ray Observatory with photo
  3. Biography of Col. Eileen Collins and photo
  4. S. Chandrasekhar, Nobel Prize Winner: Who is he? What did he win the Nobel Prize for? Get Photo.
  5. The Columbia was carrying the Chandra X-ray Observatory as well as other items. Find websites describing each of these and provide a photo of each:

    - SAREX-II (Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment)
    - EarthKam, PGIM (Plant Growth Investigations in Microgravity)
    - CGBA (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus)
    - MEMS (Micro-electric Mechanical System)
    - BRIC (Biological Research in Canisters)
    - SWUIS (the Southwest Ultraviolet Imaging System)
    - GOSAMR (the Gelation of Sols: Applied Microgravity Research experiment)
  6. On what date was the Columbia STS-93 mission completed. Provide photo.
  7. The first fully Russian contribution to the International Space Station will serve as the early cornerstone for the first human habitation of the station. Find a description and photo of this module.
  8. What Canadian women have been involved in space flights? Provide their names, biography and what flights they were on?
  9. Next year a Canadian astronaut will be the first Canadian to float freely in space. Who is he and what Canadian system will he be installing.
  10. The International Space Station is one of the key focuses of NASA. When will the station's first crew arrive and who are they. Provide photos.
  11. NASA's plans include further human missions to the Moon & Mars. When is their next scheduled mission - Moon or Mars. Find statistics on either planet.
  12. The Canadarm is one of the Canadian Space Agency's greatest achievements in the space program. What company(s) designed and constructed the Canadarm?

3. Allow each pair of students to sit at a computer that is displaying an Internet search engine, such as Yahoo! (http://www.yahoo.com) or AltaVista (http://www.altavista.com). Explain scavenger hunt assignment: First, ask students to try to find the first item (a picture of the crew members from the July 1999 space shuttle mission) and write a Web citation for it. The teacher may need to help students find information once they have found appropriate web pages. Most information will be found on the first page of Web site. When a student has written the citation for the first item, he or she should raise his or her hand to notify the teacher, and the teacher should check the citation and correct it as necessary. Students should only be allowed to continue with the scavenger hunt/Web citation activity after the teacher has reviewed the first item.

4. Students should research the plans for future space shuttle missions and find two Web sites with information on these missions. Students should then cite each website.

5. WRAP-UP/ HOMEWORK: Writing a news or feature article on an aspect of the Columbia space mission and the information they found on the websites. 

Their article should answer the 5 W's: Who, What, When, Where, Why (and sometimes How). Use the inverted pyramid which means that articles should be written with the most important information first and the least important last. Use the SNN Writing Guide to show students how to write an article.


Students will be evaluated based on written journal entry, participation in class discussions, accurate completion of the worksheet and their written article.




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