Can You Survive Space Travel?

Jessi Rieger July 2, 2019, 2 comments

I wrote this program based on Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style books. It begins with the participants (addressed collectively as "you") waking up on the day of their first trip to space, and the story develops a sci-fi twist with several distinct possible endings.

*note: my group was ages 11-18

Type: Active
Age: Middle school
Optimal size: 6-10
Estimated cost: $1 - $25
Planning time: <30 minutes
Frequency: One-time

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes centered around discussing the reasons for making the choices. I made it clear at the beginning of the program that the teens were all in one spaceship, and therefore they would have to come to a consensus regarding any decision they made. I was impressed with the reasoning that they used while they argued their positions during the process.


First, set up the room. You'll want a projector, a computer (for the google slides), 4 tables (or 4 chairs that you can fan out the envelopes on, if you have limited space), a microphone if available, and some place for the participants to gather. I also provided some bags of cookies for the teens to eat at the end.

I read the slides out loud as I projected them onto the screen, using dramatic voices and timing, and it seemed to go over well with the teens. Then, on the last slide, they are presented with their first option: to choose envelope 1: land or 1: space. Each envelope has another piece of the story, with another choice at the end, leading them to more envelopes (or, occasionally, the end of the story). I followed along with the group (I had 9 participants) and reminded them that they had to reach consensus before opening the next envelope. The debates got pretty spirited!


The slides worked beautifully--the teens were very much engaged and seemed to enjoy being read to/having the story told to them. All of the participants seemed interested in the outcome, and invested in making the choices.

I almost wish that I had put the choices into slide format, instead of printed and in envelopes. As it was, only the person who took the page out of the envelope could see the accompanying graphic, and that person would be the one to read out loud, with varying degrees of volume and confidence. I think that, with a group larger than 5 people, it would be worth putting the scripts onto slides instead and reading them out to participants with the microphone. Alternately, you could break up into smaller groups.

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