Moving Payloads in Space: Understanding Motion Graphs

Webcast: First Canadian Classroom Presentation from the International Space Station, September, 2001

As a partner in the International Space Station Project, the Canadian Space Agency has the opportunity to initiate an ISS education event during each Expedition mission. The first of these on-orbit, interactive educational sessions took place on September 27, 2001. The Commander of Expedition Three, NASA astronaut Frank Culbertson, served as the first guest-educator for the 20-minute on-orbit portion of the event that focussed on space robotics.

Commander Culbertson illustrated the concepts of inertia and microgravity as they pertain to moving payloads in space. While the students used their soda-straw models of Canadarm2 on Earth, Commander Culbertson used his own model of Canadarm2 to demonstrate two science concepts, the first dealing with weightlessness and the second dealing with inertia. This demonstration has been archived and is accessible from the link below. (To view the video, Real Player software, available free of charge is required.)

Science Units

Grade 9 and 10 units (below), have been developed for teachers by the YES I Can! Science team to be used in conjunction with the Canadian ISS Classroom video. The Science Units include:

  • teacher notes, transparency masters, and student assignments for developing an understanding of motion graphs as they pertain to moving payloads in space;
  • instructions and diagrams to build a functional soda straw model of Canadarm2;
  • and investigations for students.

National Student Challenge

The unit culminates in a national robotics challenge open to teams of students from all Canadian Secondary Schools.

The national robotics challenge is a learning-based contest developed for students in grades nine through twelve. The challenge - to develop a blueprint and business plan for a new generation robot that can move payloads on the ISS without the requirement of grapple fixtures - is meant to stimulate student thinking and give them the opportunity to apply their knowledge of science, technology and project management.

Final design submissions must be received by January 4, 2002 . For full details follow the link below.

National Challenge

YES I Can! Science