As an educator you are responsible for the
implementation of the activities found on this site. You must have
safety procedures and rules established for you classroom and make sure
all of the students follow the rules to ensure a safe environment. South
Dakota Public Broadcasting cannot in any way be responsible or liable
for any injury as a result of using the activities. Use the activities
you feel are appropriate and safe for your individual class. Have fun
and stay safe.
Questions, comments or ideas for Kids Quest can be e-mailed to Edservices@sdpb.org
It is common knowledge that all kids love to play.
Unfortunately, some of the students you have in the classroom are not as
thrilled about math, language arts or science class. Their minds may be
on recess or a television show they watched the night before. The
activity that follows is a very fun and easy supplement to bring your
class alive without straying from learning. The kids will learn and have
The focus of the following activity examines the types of foods
astronauts eat in space. Astronauts spend extended periods of time in
space. The problem we will address in the following lab focuses on the
word space. The problem isn't outer space; it is physical space for
storage. Also, weight is a crucial issue. The shuttle must be as light
as possible during takeoff. Reducing the amount of water in the food
reduces the total weight of the shuttle. The fuel used by the shuttle
gives off water as a natural byproduct. The water can be reclaimed and
used to re-hydrate the food.
The astronauts need to maintain a high level of nutrient intake to
remain healthy. The design of special foods by NASA has made this
possible. Below you will find a web site on the topic space food.
The Kids Quest episode –Fill Your Head With Space” explains some of the
concerns involving food consumption and gives the solutions NASA used to
over come them. For your convenience, all of the Kids Quest episodes can
be viewed on line at http://www.sdpb.org/.
Materials per group:
Dehydrator (1 per class-
oven may work on low)
Fruits and vegetables (your choice-many small pieces:6-8 different types
cut into small pieces)
balance (1 per class - more if possible)
data sheet and graph paper (1 per student)
plastic storage bags (1 box)
calculator (1 per student or group if possible)
goggles (1 per student)
note: Amounts of material may vary depending on your class size.
Introduction of topic (space) (1-2 class periods)
1. Watch Kids Quest " Fill Your Head With Space”.
2. Cover information in your science text about nutrition.
3. Visit educational web sites about space.
( http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/ )
4. Review the scientific method in your textbook.
1. This activity is a
perfect lab to use to help students understand the basics of the
scientific method. Before the lab begins you could introduce the
activity and ask the students to hypothesis which fruits and vegetables
have the highest percent of water content. The students could use the
steps of the scientific method to prepare a pre-lab investigation. The
number of steps completed for the scientific method varies depending on
which book you use. Below are some sites which explain the scientific
method in detail. Also, you will find an simple example shown below.
2. The students need to be placed in-groups of 2-3. They should choose 4
- 6 types of foods. The students should weigh the food they received.
They must record the information on a data sheet.
3. The students should place the food in the dehydrator. Make sure each
group marks their food when they place it in the dehydrator. A small
piece of paper with the group name could be placed by the food. The
dehydrator should be left on overnight or whatever time recommendations
are on the dehydrator.
4. The food items should be removed from the dehydrator. The food should
be placed in a plastic bag to cool. The food items should be weighed on
the balance. The information should be recorded on the data sheet.
5. The students should compare the amount of water released for each
type of food sample. This should be a % water loss. The % water loss
should be used instead of total water loss because comparisons will be
more accurate. The equation below can be used to calculate the % water
loss. The students will need help with this part of the experiment.
weight of original food - weight of dehydrated food
% water loss = ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ X 100%
weight of original food sample
6. The students should graph the data. The students could graph the food
type and % water loss. The students should compare the results of the
investigation with their pre-lab expectations.
7. The activity can be modified to meet your needs.
(example graph À can be completed on paper)
(does not represent actual data)
If completed correctly, the
following standards are used in the activity above. More standards could
be used by including spin-offs of the activity. For example, a paper
could be written about the history of space food.
State Content Standards
Number indicates standard number
FOURTH GRADE MEASUREMENT STANDARDS - THE STUDENT WILL:
3. select and use the most appropriate units for given measurement
5. explore the use of formulas that assist in measurement situations.
(example: area) (example: using % weight loss instead of weight loss)
6. use scales of length, temperature, volume, and weight for problem
9. develop strategies to make measurement estimates. (students could
help you come up with the % weight loss equation, also explain why it is
better than using simple weight loss)
FOURTH GRADE NUMBER SENSE STANDARDS - THE STUDENT WILL:
5. apply multiplication and division facts through the 12s.
7. find the quotient of two whole numbers.
FOURTH GRADE STATISTICS & PROBABILITY STANDARDS - THE STUDENT WILL:
2. use appropriate scales to represent data in various forms.
3. interpret and analyze data from graphical representations and draw
FOURTH GRADE NATURE OF SCIENCE STANDARDS- STUDENTS WILL:
2. identify characteristics of scientific ways of thinking. (scientific
4. explore the scientific process as identifying a problem, developing a
hypothesis, experimenting, collecting data, and drawing conclusions.
5. develop questions to formulate hypotheses and use data to make
6. make distinctions among predictions, observations, and conclusions.
7. use appropriate standard and metric measures to collect, record, and
report data in graphical representations.
8. recognize numerical data that are contradictory or unusual in
experimental results. (may happen)
9. recognize the effect of manipulated variables on the outcomes of
events. (example: same size pieces of food- different sized pieces will
affect the results) could show this
10. use appropriate scientific equipment for investigations.
11. use proper safety procedures in all investigations.
FOURTH GRADE PHYSICAL SCIENCE STANDARDS- STUDENTS WILL:
4. differentiate between the states of matter when matter changes.
(example: from a solid to liquid) you could describe the water in the
food changing from a liquid to a gas
FOURTH GRADE SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENVIRONMENT, AND SOCIETY STANDARDS- STUDENTS WILL:
2.investigate how new ideas and inventions often affect people. (could
study history of food in space and ready to eat meals for soldiers)
4.explain how inventions have changed people's lives. (example:
television, electric lights) (example - space food)
Resource: South Dakota Department of Education Content Standards