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Astronaut Training: Station 4 - Disorientation Maze

Have you ever been disoriented before? Astronauts may feel dizzy or confused in space as their body adjusts to the change in gravity.

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Plan

  • Where will you find mazes to do for this activity?
  • What other supplies will you need for this activity?
  • Find two simple mazes to do – label one Maze A and the other Maze B. They should be different, but similar in difficulty.

Do

This activity must be done in pairs.

  • Draw a path through Maze “A” as quickly as you can. How many times did you “bump” into the walls?
  • Next, ask your partner to place the mirror next to Maze “B”, ensuring that you can see the maze clearly in the mirror. Your partner will also hold a piece of paper over your writing hand. This ensures that you are only using the mirror and are therefore “disoriented”.
  • Draw a path through the maze while looking in the mirror; you should not look directly at the paper or pencil! Count how many times you “bumped” into the walls and write that number down.
  • Have your partner do the same.

Review

  • Did performance improve with practice?
  • What can astronauts do to practice dealing with disorientation?

Materials

  • Disorientation Maze template
  • Mirrors
  • Pencils
  • Prisms (optional)

Keep it Simple

  • Choose mazes that have wide lines. You can even laminate them and use dry erase markers. Using a fine-tipped pencil may be too difficult for some people.

Take it Further

  • Repeat Maze B and see if your performance improves.
  • Attempt a maze using a prism. The prism rotates the beam of light by 90 degrees and presents quite a challenge!
  • Repeat the activity using a star-shaped maze. The more acute angles present a much greater challenge.