The History of the ISS

8-10 yrs old

11-13 yrs old



Students will research the history of the ISS as well as learn about the various countries that were involved in building it.

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avatar Submitted By: Phygital Labs

June 1, 2020


  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking

Learning Objectives

  • 1. research the history of the ISS in order to build a timeline a. CCSS W.5.7
  • 2. learn about the countries that have built the various parts of the ISS a. CCSS W.5.7
  • 3. design and create a new module to add to the ISS Minecraft model and explain its purpose a. NGSS 3-5-ETS1-1 b. NGSS 3-5-ETS1-2

Guiding Ideas

When was the ISS built? Which countries took part in building it? In this lesson, students research the history of the ISS, including the countries involved in its creation. Then, the students will create their very own module to add to the ISS in Minecraft!

Essential Questions

• What is the purpose of the International Space Station?

• Why do you think multiple countries participated in the construction of the ISS rather than just one?

• What part of the ISS is the most interesting to you? Why?

• If you could add a new module to the ISS, what would it be for? Why?

Teacher Preparation & Notes

1. Watch the How Does the International Space Station Work? video to familiarize yourself with the history, modules, and countries involved with the construction and maintenance.

2. Create notes for students to fill in as they watch the video or prepare chart paper for the teacher to take notes students suggest (*optional).

3. Create a collaborative Wakelet for students to turn in their timelines (*optional).

4. Decide if students will be in groups chosen by the teacher or the students themselves.

5. Gather materials:

a. Graph paper

b. Pencils

c. Colored pencils


Student Activities

Day 1:

Estimated time: 60 minutes

1. Students will watch the video How Does the International Space Station Work?

a. Students can either take their own notes or use pre-made notes to be filled in.

b. The teacher can take class notes on chart paper, but it would be best to have the topics ready to help students organize their thoughts as they watch the video.

c. If students are younger, they may need a shorter, less detailed video on the ISS (BrainPop has a great one).

2. After watching the video, students will get in small groups and discuss the notes taken. They will focus on the historical timeline and create a handwritten or digital timeline as learning evidence.

a. Sutori is a great site to use to create digital timelines, but this can also be done in Sway or PowerPoint, too!

b. All final timelines can be placed on a collaborative Wakelet (*optional).

Day 2:

Estimated time: 60 minutes

1. Students will briefly share their timelines with one or two other groups and compare the items they chose to include. If the teacher would like the timelines to be placed on Wakelet, the students can do so at this time.

2. Groups will get together again to discuss what new module they would add to the ISS if they had the opportunity, where it would go, and what its purpose would be.

3. After reaching a decision together, they will sketch out what it would look like on graph paper.

4. Once students have permission to move ahead, they will collaboratively build their new module in Minecraft, using the ISS world.


Performance Expectations

• Students will create digital timelines in small groups to show evidence of learning about the history of the ISS.

o Timelines can be handed in using Wakelet, but that is simply an option.

• Students will collaboratively create a new module on the ISS in Minecraft, take pictures using the camera and portfolio, then share the images with a description of where it would go and what its purpose is.

o This can be done in Sway, PPT, Buncee, or another presentation tool.



  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking