Below is a list of teacher tips to help
you make the most of your Space Station Alpha e-Mission experience.
A. e-Mission: Space Station
minimum of 15, 45-minute class periods is recommended for
the entire program. Of course you may choose to do fewer lesson
plans, depending on the instructional needs you have. Students
familiar with the background material conduct the best missions.
At a minimum, students need to be fluent in conducting mission
day calculations, and the meaning of the concepts presented
in their team reference guides.
B. During Pre-Mission Preparation
(Lessons 13 and 14)
you have divided your class into teams, have every student
practice the calculations required to complete the tables
and graphs. Every team has a set of practice data that they
can use to practice making calculations. This exercise increases
the students’ comfort and confidence. During the mission
itself, the data comes regularly at 5 minute intervals.
Your students need to be able to calculate quickly and accurately.
The DATA race is a very useful experience. It recreates the
pressures the students will experience on Mission Day.
all students graph the practice data. This is important. The
students learn what the data means. Graphs let them visualize
what is taking place. This is especially important while they
calculate the “Time to Criticality.” As they see
the line on their graphs rise and fall, they understand when
conditions are normal and when there is cause for concern.
a straightedge and pencil, have the students transfer the
critical condition levels specified in the Team Reference
Guides to their graphs. This helps them project Time to Criticality.
students must become familiar with the Data Report Form so
that they know what they will be reporting to Mission Control.
a test link-up with Challenger Mission Control. In this way,
you can make sure you will have the best possible connection.
sure that there is a phone in the room where the mission takes
place so that you can communicate with Mission Control to
work out technical problems.
a technical support person on call.
C. Mission Day
sure ALL forms required during the mission (report forms,
diagrams, data slips, graphs, etc.) are copied and ready to
go before the students arrive in the classroom.
a different color paper for each team’s report forms.
This will help the Communications Team distinguish one team’s
reports from the other.
classroom set-up instructions for the number of students in your class.
D. Communications Team
Communications Officer will be responsible for receiving all
the messages and categorizing each according to its priority
level. He or she determines what information needs to be communicated
orally and what can be sent through the chat window. Finally,
he or she is responsible for getting the attention of specific
teams, or the entire group, when asked to do so by Mission
Control. The Communications Officer must be able to “work
the room,” motivate the Crisis Management Team members,
and make sure that Mission Control is receiving a steady supply
of information. The Data Officer will be sending data through the
data center and additional information through the chat window. The
Communications Officer, can coordinate the whole process and
work directly with the Crisis Management Team members.
an outgoing person to be the Communications Officer. This
person needs to be comfortable with the sound of their own
voice because they will be talking the whole time. (Students
who spend a lot of time talking to their friends on the phone
Data Officer needs to be fairly adept at typing. A lot of numbers will be
typed, and speed and accuracy are important.
Communications Officer must develop
a system to sort the colored data forms as they come in. You
may wish to have six separate bins, one for each of 4 teams,
one for Top Priority reports, and one for questions and answers
that need to be communicated to Mission Control.
E. Storm Team
sure that the STORM Team understands that they are the “early
alert” team. If there is a solar storm, they will be
the first team to know it! Their Crisis Management Team member
will have to communicate with the rest of the teams so that
everyone has as much advanced notice as possible.
the STORM Team graph its data on a large poster board
so that the class can follow the X-ray and proton data to
determine if there is cause for alarm.
F. Radiation Team
Radiation Team needs to pay close attention to the differences
in the readings from the two TEPCs on board. This will be
an indication of whether or not their shielding recommendations
G. Life Support Team
Life Support Team needs to recognize that their data must
stay within a prescribed range; and, therefore, they need
to make sure that the oxygen and carbon dioxide does not get
too low or high, respectively. This is a little bit different
from the other teams as they are only concerned with graphs
that track conditions that move in one “direction”
with regard to Time to Criticality.
The Life Support Team should also pay attention to total atmospheric
H. Crisis Management Team
Three members of this team are also members of one of the
other teams (STORM, Radiation, or Life Support). They should
have all worked through the same preparations, calculations,
graphs, and tables, in order to understand the data.
Have a large diagram of Space Station Alpha located where
the whole class can see it. There should also be a chalkboard,
flip chart, or erasable board to serve as the Mission Status
Board, where each Crisis Manager can record the current status
of the space station.
Crisis Manager should communicate regularly with his or her
team to keep them informed of what is happening in the rest
of the space station.
4. The Crisis Management Team
will receive power readings and battery levels.
It is critical for this team to be familiar with their team’s
Reference Guide so that they can suggest solutions to problems
in the midst of a crisis.