Come In, Mission Control

Come In, Mission Control lesson plan

Create your own instrument panels for an imaginary spacecraft and explore the ways scientists collect data about the universe.

  • 1.

    Explore resources to discover methods space scientists use to investigate mysteries of the universe. Search newspapers, news magazines, and Web sites for current information on NASA missions and programs. Share information with the group.

  • 2.

    Create an imaginary space shuttle or mission control instrument panel with a recycled cereal box. Use Crayola® Scissors to cut down the sides of one flat face of the box so it is open to the inside.

  • 3.

    Cover the inside and outside of the box with construction paper. Attach with a Crayola Glue Stick.

  • 4.

    Use Crayola Metallic FX Crayons to draw a view finder with an image of space on the upright side. Add controls and dials made from assorted craft materials such as buttons, chenille sticks, craft sticks, and aluminum foil. Be creative. Invent new tools for collecting data in your space shuttle, or try to make it realistic. Add glittering buttons and lights with Crayola Glitter Glue.

  • 5.

    Work with a partner to decide on what your space mission will investigate. Sit across from each other behind your control panels and simulate a real data-gathering mission, talking back and forth about the expedition.


  • Children explore various ways in which scientists collect and generate data about our universe.
  • Children create 3-dimensional simulations of space shuttle or mission control instrument panels.
  • Students work in pairs to write and dramatize a space mission.


  • Teachers can informally assess understanding of space exploration methods by circulating among students while they role play. Ask questions about data collection methods and current topics in space science.
  • Students write fictional mission reports about discovering a new rock that can be made into a metallic crayon color. Ask children to include two data collection methods they've learned about as they explain how the new crayon color was discovered, studied