A Lunar Survival Mission

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Inspired by a lesson from NASA, this is an open-ended discussion to get your students thinking outside the box and collaborating to survive on the moon.

New I've created three student videos for this activity.

Students' have crashed on the moon, 125 km from a lunar base. They must select a set of items to help them survive as they make their way to the base. Naturally, this selection has many possible answers.

I put kids in trios, and slowly displayed the 18 items at their disposal. They then grouped these items as: essential, helpful, or useless.

In the end, some students will strongly disagree with the "real" categories, which is a perfect chance to let them justify their thinking, create an interesting story, or act out the usefulness of an item.

I was asked to provide some of the clever ideas I've heard from students, so here you go (do not share until after your kids have shared their own ideas though):

  1. use matches to (carefully) light the oxygen tanks to create jets. Combine with life raft for transportation.
  2. shoot pistols away from yourself to propel you backwards
  3. tie the rope around the life raft to create a sled to pull people or supplies
  4. make a sack using parachute silk and the rope
  5. use the matches to splint a broken finger
  6. use the box to collect moon rocks
  7. use matches to draw straws for different duties
  8. use matches as breadcrumbs to mark a path
  9. break magnetic compass glass to create a sharp cutting edge
  10. use the needle in the magnetic compass to repair suits


  1. First, students decide which items are essential, helpful, and useless.
  2. Then, they decide how they could actually use their "useless" items.
  3. Finally, they can create a story (published however you'd like) about how they used the items to survive for three days on the moon.

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