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Building a Colony on the Moon

  • Planétarium
Design and build a model of a lunar colony
The Moon

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Description of the activity

If I had to design and build a self-sufficient colony on the Moon, what type of equipment and buildings would I need? How would I ensure that the colonists had enough water, oxygen and food supplies? What energy source would I use? How would I protect colonists and survival equipment from the inhospitable conditions reigning on the surface of the Moon?


By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • Identify basic human needs (water, air, food, protection) whether on Earth, on the Moon or in space.
  • Reflect on the physical characteristics of the lunar environment.
  • Design and build a model of a lunar colony.
  • Convey their concept and ideas to other students.

You can easily adapt this activity to the age of your students. Older students are able to reflect on the problems posed by the inhospitable conditions on the lunar surface and think up realistic solutions. For younger kids (kindergarten and grades 1 to 4), the activity can evolve into a more open creative process in which they’ll dream up, draw and then build a lunar structure.

Equipment needed by the student

For the entire class:

Gather various material to be used to build lunar colonies. Here are a few suggestions: different kinds of milk cartons, plastic, paper and Styrofoam cups, small plastic containers (empty yogurt or fruit-juice containers), packing material (Styrofoam moulding, bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts), empty egg cartons, paper and Styrofoam plates, cardboard tubes, corks, straws, empty boxes of camera film, coffee stirrers, construction paper in various colours, tape, rope, coloured thread, yarn, wire, metal hangers, aluminum foil, sheets or rolls of transparent plastic, toothpicks, blank labels and masking paper.

Also provide tools that students can use under your supervision, such as pliers for cutting and twisting wire, an all-purpose knife for cutting tubes or Styrofoam, and a saw, hammer and stapler. If you have a tool belt, carry your tools in it as you circulate among the groups.

For each team

  • A rigid work area of 60 cm by 60 cm (a large piece of embossed board such as from a large cardboard box, or a piece of rigid Styrofoam) to be used as a base for building the colony.
  • One or two bottles or sticks of glue.
  • One or two pairs of scissors.
  • Felt pens of various colours.

Equipment necessary for the teacher

Annexe 1


Collect a wide range of arts and crafts supplies using the list on pages 2 and 3. Together with your students, draw up a list of things they can bring from home. Leave these supplies out in a corner of the classroom so students can become familiar with the material they’ll use. Encourage them to collect any objects that, with a little imagination, could become building materials for outer space. Avoid, however, all organic material that might end up rotting or spoiling.

Ensure that each team is given a firm work surface large enough to build its colony on. Gather the arts and crafts supplies for each group (glue, scissors, pencils, tape) in a container or on a tray for quick distribution. Keep close at hand all tools that require your supervision as students use them (pliers, knives and such).


Adapted from Planetarium Activities for Student Success, Vol. 7, Moons of the Solar System, produced by the astronomy education program of the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California at Berkley. © 1993 The Regents of the University of California.

Category of activity

  • Preparatory activity

Sub-category of activity

  • Class activity

Grade level

  • Preschool
  • Elementary cycle one
  • Elementary cycle two
  • Elementary cycle three
  • Secondary cycle one
  • Secondary cycle two

Number of students per group

Four or five


About a day of work spread over a week

Activity Sheets

Building a Colony on the Moon[PDF - 420.62 KB - 10 pages]

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