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.
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.
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.
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:
- Micro:bit and space projects challenges students to create a space-related project and use a micro:bit to gather data.
- Make a model CubeSat and micro:bit sun sensor involves a 3D build. Extend it to include simple programming and electronics.
- Scale model for satellite orbits explores satellite altitudes and satellite motion.
- Investigating satellite dishes uses an umbrella as a curved reflector to increase a cellphone’s Wi-Fi signal.
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.