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  • Space debris is leftover rocket parts and non-functional satellites and any other machinery or debris left by humans. Humans have been launching rockets into space since the 1950s, and now, 70 years later, there is a vast amount of non-functional space junk circling around the Earth.

    In this activity, students consolidate their learning about space debris by creating an interactive model or game in Scratch.

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

    • share a digital outcome with an end user
    • explain how their digital outcome models aspects of the issue of space debris
    • explain how algorithms are used in their digital outcome work.

    During this activity, students will produce a game or interactive model using Scratch. They will make choices about the visual design and how they are going to represent the issue of space debris and publish a completed digital outcome for others to use. Students will need to test their code from time to time and make adjustments as necessary.

    Two Scratch games are available to share with students so they can conceptualise the kind of outcome expected. Teachers do not need to be experts in using Scratch. Their role is to introduce the issues of space debris, provide the parameters of the finished digital outcome and support students to problem solve their own solutions.

    Download the Word file (see link below).

    Related content

    If you think it is hard to keep your bedroom tidy, spare a thought for the space around our Earth. There are over 100 million particles of space junk out there, and humans are responsible for all of it!

    Find out what we are doing to deal with space debris.

    Harpoons, robots and lasers are just some ideas currently being investigated to capture defunct satellites and other space junk and bring them back to Earth.

    The Connected article Amazing algorithms introduces and explains the concept of algorithms with concrete examples from everyday life, mathematics and computer programming.

    Modelling is one type of scientific investigation. Check out the five types of investigation in this interactive. It’s part of the teacher PLD article Investigating in science.

    Useful links

    Scratch is a free coding community for students.

    Visit TKI to read about types of investigations.

    Read about computational thinking and designing and developing digital outcomes – areas in the digital technologies curriculum.

    NASA uses modelling software to track and predict various parameters for space debris:

    See our space junk Pinterest board – a curation of articles and resources on space junk and the work looking into solutions happening here in New Zealand.


    This resource has been produced with funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the support of the New Zealand Space Agency.

      Published 25 July 2022 Referencing Hub articles
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