Monday, September 29, 2008

Space Crew Mission Patches

The fourth grade learns about the planets early in the year. As I was looking for a project at that grade level a few years ago, I found this web quest.

2008-2009 Mission
In previous years, I more or less followed the entire web quest. Some parts worked really well like designing the student's own mission patch. Some parts did not work as I expected them to, like sending the postcard.

This year, I have the fourth grade twice per week for forty-two minutes instead of once per week. I took this opportunity to use the web quest, but make the project work better for me.

Part One
The first part of the mission has taken about two classes. We still used a link from the web quest website to get to an actual collection of mission patches from NASA for the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. I used to just have the students look at the patches. This year, they were armed with notepads and pencils to find the following information:

  • Mercury - list the astronauts names and how they incorporated the mission number on the patch
  • Gemini/ Apollo - tell how many astronauts were on the mission and again tell how they incorporated the mission number on the patch (two missions do not list names)

As the students went through each patch, they were to put a plus sign (+) next to any mission patch they really liked.

Finally, they were to go back to every patch that they wrote a plus sign and look at it again. They were to circle their absolute favorite mission patch.

Part Two
This week, I will have them take a short Survey Monkey survey to find out which were the most popular patches. Once we do that, I will give each student a printout with a set of questions comparing some statistics about Earth to one of the other seven planets. They will tell how many hours it takes their assigned planet to go around the sun, how much time it takes the planet to rotate on its axis, how many moons it has, how many rings it has, and the minimum and maximum temperatures on the planet. They will be using the Windows to the Universe website. They will have to compare the results to the statistics for Earth. Each year, the science teacher assigns the students a planet to research as a project. This year, they should be better prepared to locate information using Windows to the Universe.

Part Three
The students will design their own mission patch for their imaginary trip to the assigned planet in Kid Pix. It will give them practice in changing to the Small Kids Mode so they can stamp ABC letters for their last name, mission name, and ship name. They will use the Space stamp set to decorate the patch. Finally, we will print and compare the completed patches.They will be asked to incorporate the statistics generated in Part Two to choose the mission name and the decoration for their patch. They will use the knowledge of the real mission patches to create a mission patch of their own.

Image Citation:


  1. Once again I love your ideas Ann. I'm not sure if our 4th Grade does space or not. I think we do it in 3rd here? I'll have to check and borrow some of your ideas if you don't mind.

  2. I'm always flattered when my ideas get borrowed. I think this would work in many different grade levels. The students had a lot of fun looking at the patches. I know they will enjoy creating their own this week.

  3. trying to get the word out about a great charity for teachers and students...