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Astronaut Training: Station 3 - Space Gloves

Astronauts wear gloves while working outside in space (and sometimes while inside). Bulky gloves can make it hard to do even the simplest of tasks! Try doing some tasks while wearing gloves – will you be able to complete them all?

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Plan

  • What gloves will you wear for this activity? Thick nitrile lab gloves, hockey gloves or even thick winter gloves will do the trick!
  • What tasks will you try to do with gloves on? What supplies do the tasks require?

Do

  • Discuss the types of tasks that might be difficult to do while wearing a spacesuit.
  • How does the suit and/or the environment limit what type of work astronauts can accomplish?
  • Arrange the supplies you will need for the different tasks you have chosen – you could put together Lego, thread a needle, write your name, strike a match, etc.
  • Activity ideas: stacking Lego, using chopsticks to move marbles around, tying a simple knot, writing your name on a piece of paper, threading a needle, opening a container, etc.
  • Take turns trying to complete the different tasks – make sure to have a way to track time so that everyone has time to try every task.

Review

  • Which tasks were easiest? Which were hardest?
  • Did you do anything to make the tasks easier?
  • How might astronauts work around the challenge of having to wear gloves while doing simple tasks?
  • Would it have been harder or easier to do the tasks with a partner?

Materials

  • Work gloves or hockey gloves 
  • Other than the gloves, there are not any specific materials you need – you can choose tasks based on the skill level of your group, or based on the materials you have.

Keep it Simple

  • Some youth may not have the same motor skills as others, so you may need to have tasks in a variety of difficulties. Try to have at least one task that everyone will be able to do.
  • Wearing thinner gloves will make the activities easier – if you have youth who struggle with fine motor skills, try having them wear a thinner pair of gloves.

Take it Further

  • Try choosing harder tasks, like making a friendship bracelet, knitting or opening a small bottle.