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Challenge: Microgravity

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Challenge: Microgravity

In this activity about the circulatory system and space travel (on page 38 of the PDF), learners use water balloons to simulate the effects of gravity and microgravity on fluid distribution in the body. This lesson guide includes background information, setup and management tips, and discussion questions.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Highlighters
  • Oblong-shaped balloon
  • Paper towels
  • Tub half-filled with water (large enough to float a filled balloon)
  • Group concept map (ongoing)
  • Copy of student sheet (p. 41)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
    • Earth Structure
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • Circulation
      • Health and Nutrition
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

Includes assesments for student learning

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Tharp, Barbara Z.; Erdmann, Deanne B.; Matyas, Marsha L.; McNeel, Ronald L.; Moreno, Nancy P.


  • All Rights Reserved, Baylor College of Medicine, ©2009

Funding Source:

  • NASA, NCC 9-58