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Daily Do

How can Alexa-MIT App Inventor be used to help astronauts monitor their body systems?

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How can Alexa-MIT App Inventor be used to help astronauts monitor their body systems?

Sensemaking Checklist

Welcome to NSTA's Daily Do

Teachers and families across the country are facing a new reality of providing opportunities for students to do science through distance and home learning. The Daily Do is one of the ways NSTA is supporting teachers and families with this endeavor. Each weekday, NSTA will share a sensemaking task teachers and families can use to engage their students in authentic, relevant science learning. We encourage families to make time for family science learning (science is a social process!) and are dedicated to helping students and their families find balance between learning science and the day-to-day responsibilities they have to stay healthy and safe.

Interested in learning about other ways NSTA is supporting teachers and families? Visit the NSTA homepage.

What Is Sensemaking?

Sensemaking is actively trying to figure out how the world works (science) or how to design solutions to problems (engineering). Students do science and engineering through the science and engineering practices. Engaging in these practices necessitates that students be part of a learning community to be able to share ideas, evaluate competing ideas, give and receive critique, and reach consensus. Whether this community of learners is made up of classmates or family members, students and adults build and refine science and engineering knowledge together.

Lesson Snapshot

In Day 3, high school students, as scientists, consider the information vital signs provide about body systems to answer the following driving question: What can vital signs reveal about the proper functioning of body systems?  Students use systems thinking to explain how different vital signs provide information about the functioning of (sub)systems that make up the whole-body system. In Day 4, high school students, as scientists, create a computer program to answer the following driving question: How can Alexa-MIT App Inventor be used to help astronauts determine if their body systems are functioning properly? Students revise and use a program that uses dialogue (input and output), data storage, and calculations to track a single vital sign in real-time and over time.

Click the Download PDF button above for the complete Lesson Plan.


Student Materials

Per Student or to Project on a Screen

Vital Signs (handout)
Temperature Checker Program Instructions Handout
Flowchart Describing New Alexa Skill

Per Small Group (2 to 4 students)

  • Access to the Alexa-MIT App Inventor on a computer, tablet, or mobile device

Teacher Materials

Alexa for Astronauts Day 4 Presentation

Optional Teacher Resources

Asset 2