Science Above North Carolina: Lesson Plan

The zero gravity environment onboard the International Space Station enables astronauts and researchers to better study health issues that impact people on Earth.

UNC-TV Media

Alignment to NC Essential Standards

  • 8.PCH.1.2 — Explain behavioral and environmental factors that contribute to major chronic diseases and the methods for reducing problems associated with common conditions.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the lesson students will:

  1. Describe the ways in which a zero gravity environment can impact bone density. 
  2. Discuss the ways in which examining zero gravity effects on the human body can advance medical therapies for some chronic diseases.  


Students will watch the PBS Learning Media video Health Effects of Zero Gravity to learn about the health effects of space travel.


Astronauts need to prepare for the potential effects of space travel by increasing their bone strength. Students can train like an astronaut by doing the exercises in the video Jump for the Moon.


Students will watch the NC Science Now video Science Above North Carolina to find out how the body becomes more susceptible to chronic diseases when in a zero gravity environment.



Test students’ understanding of the NC Science Now video Science Above North Carolina with the following questions:

  1. What is zero gravity?
  2. Describe the relationship between gravity and vital organs. Why is gravity necessary to keep these organs healthy and functioning?
  3. How much faster does bone loss occur in space than it does on Earth? 
  4. Why might it be important to have pharmaceutical therapies available for astronauts traveling to Mars?