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STEM Activities

STEM Activity: Microgravity Pizza Makers

Get a little taste of one of our all-new 2022 Camp Invention® adventures, Spacecation! This summer, campers will go on excursions to find factual data about our solar system through creative, hands-on activities like making a pizza in microgravity, just like the astronauts on the International Space Station!

What might it be like to make a pizza while floating through outer space? Team up with a friend or family member to test your pizza-making skills, and then brainstorm a unique name for your final creation that will have everyone drooling!

 

Materials Needed 

  • Cardboard, cut in a circle, or empty pizza box
  • Markers
  • Paper, colored or plain
  • Small container

 

Step-by-Step Instructions 

  1. Prepare your toppings! Crumple up pieces of colored construction paper or use markers to color on plain paper to match the key below. (You can also create your own color-topping combinations.)
     
  2. Place the toppings in the container for one person to hold. The second person should stand about 3 feet away holding the cardboard circle, which will be your pizza crust.
     
  3. Think about how there is no gravity in space — and on a space station, there is only a little gravity, called microgravity. In order to make a pizza, you’re going to have to catch the toppings before they float away!
     
  4. Toss the toppings into the air and see how many you can catch on the pizza crust!
     
  5. Match the color of each topping with the key below, or brainstorm your own ideas for items that can be represented by each color.
     
  6. Finally, give your pizza an out-of-this-world name that will make everyone back on Earth want to try it. While you’re brainstorming, try these creative tips:
    • Write down as many space-related words as you can think of.
    • Come up with different ways to say “delicious” without using the word “delicious,” and write these words down too.
    • Create a new, unique word to use in your name! Review your toppings and look for ways to mash up the words. For example, pepperoni and mushroom could be combined into a new word, like peppershroom or musheroni.
    • Pitch your new space-tastic pizza pie to a friend or family member to see if they might invest in your product. Be sure to tell them what makes it so unique and “delicious!”

Pizza Topping Key

What Are We Discovering?

Have you ever thought about being a food scientist? National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductee Mary Engle Pennington was a food scientist, and she developed ways to keep food fresh and safe. NASA has food scientists who find ways to send safe, nutritious food up to astronauts living on a space station. Since there is little to no gravity on a space station, astronauts must make sure food, like pizza toppings and even cracker crumbs, will not float away.

Gravity is the force that holds everything down toward the center of a planet like Earth, which is why your pizza toppings will fall onto your pizza crust. Microgravity is almost the same as zero gravity. It refers to the type of gravity found on an orbiting spacecraft, which is very small, but not quite zero. Objects in microgravity experience almost full weightlessness. What other ideas for space food science might you come up with?

 

Looking for More STEM Fun? Sign Up for Camp Invention!

If your child enjoys STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities, they will love Camp Invention®, NIHF’s nationwide K-6 STEM summer camp! To learn more about this year’s brand-new program and to reserve your spot today, we invite you to visit our website.

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