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Recommended for all grades
During a space flight, astronauts are required to be able to respond quickly to any given situation. Unexpected problems may arise that require a rapid response to the problem. The faster the reaction time of an astronaut and the crew, the better chance they will have in dealing with a given situation.
- To measure and record reaction time to a variety of activities
- To demonstrate the importance of physical fitness for space explorers
Materials and Equipment
- Stopwatch or watch with second hand
- Pencil, paper, ruler
- Work with a partner for the activity. Each person needs to make a recording sheet.
- On a sheet of paper, draw a square 12 cm by 12 cm. Draw 12 boxes inside the square. Mark these boxes in the middle with the numbers from 1 - 12 but do not put them in order!
- Get ready to start timing your partner. Don't let your partner see the sheet before you start the experiment.
- Your partner places index finger on square marked #1 and touches each square in numerical order.
- Record the time. Then do the activity again but this time, have your partner touch the squares in reverse order. Record the time again. Do this several times and see what happens to your time.
- Reverse the roles and record the results.
- Do the activity or 2 or 3 days in a row to see if your reaction time improves.
- Make up your own activity and challenge your partner. Compare the results using non-standard symbols or the letters of the alphabet. Devise a different system which is faster than numbers.
- Create a series of graphs and charts to show the improvements by class members over time.
Record your results in your Scientific Journal.
10 seconds slow
9 seconds average
7 seconds very good
5 seconds excellent
- How do these activities relate to living and working in space?
- Why would it be important to be quick and steady for space experiments?
- What happens to your time after you have done the exercise several times? Why?