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  • In this activity, students make a physical model of the satellite shown in the Build a satellite interactive. Making a physical model will help students to see how parts of the satellite relate to each other and how those parts interact. Students will also consider why particular parts of the satellite are needed.

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

    • construct a simple model satellite made from light card using a template pattern
    • explain why a satellite needs solar panels, an aerial and an outer casing for heat control.

    This activity is ideally done during or after the Build a satellite for a mission activity, which includes the Build a satellite interactive.

    Download the Word file (see link below).

    Download the Satellite template PDF file (see link below)

    Nature of science and technology

    Construction of a physical scale model shows how parts of the satellite relate to one another.

    Related content

    MethaneSAT is Aotearoa New Zealand’s first government-funded space mission.

    Find out about different types in the article Artificial satellites.

    Building satellites for Earth observation lists some of the common components that satellites carry.

    What will you do with the satellite you’ve just built? Take your learning to a whole new level. The Science Learning Hub team has curated a collection of resources to support students to design a satellite mission to help fight climate change. Use the resources for background information, content vocabulary and inspiration to give your satellite a purpose-built mission to create science-based solutions.

    Activity ideas

    Build a satellite and then analyse data regarding dark vessels, albatross populations and slow slip Earth movements.

    Get your students to turn their eyes to the night sky to observe natural satellites and spot artificial satellites – like the ISS – as they pass overhead. Back indoors, students can hunt for satellites online with a webquest.

    Students can use other models to explore space-related ideas:

    Useful links

    The following websites provide templates for making paper models of real satellites. These templates range in difficulty from simple to very intricate models.


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

    The templates used in this activity were designed by Denis Burchill. Visit Denis Burchill’s resource pages for more activity ideas.

      Published 25 July 2022 Referencing Hub articles
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