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Topical Tuesdays: Bacteria Survive in Space! – KS2 News Story and Reading and Writing Activity Sheet from The Week Junior

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A colony of bacteria placed on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS) three years ago has survived in space, scientists have found. The discovery suggests that some living things can cope in much harsher conditions than previously thought.

For thousands of years, we humans have convinced ourselves that we are the number one life-form on planet Earth. But after this revelation, is that really true? Are bacteria actually the top dogs?

This resource pack includes an article from The Week Junior Newspaper about bacteria and the ISS, alongside an activities sheet to get children thinking, talking and writing about what the story means to them::

  • This experiment has shown, they are clearly tougher and better at adapting to their conditions than we are. Furthermore, you could say that they have a more positive impact on the planet as they break down waste whereas we just create it. So, are bacteria the best, or are human achievements so much more impressive with our cities, our communications networks and our creativity? What do you think?
  • Space agencies have been known to write job advertisements to recruit new astronauts. Imagine if we had to do something similar to get bacteria to take part in the experiment described in this article. Write a job advertisement to persuade them to volunteer for this mission, pointing out the risks and demands as well as any benefits you can think of.
  • Write a set of instructions for carrying out this experiment, using the information in the article. Remember to include a ‘What you need’ section as well as numbered instructions, setting out step-by-step what you need to do.
  • Many bacteria are very useful to humans. Find at least three examples and explain how they benefit us.

Find the entire series of Topical Tuesday resources to download here.

What is The Week Junior?

The Week Junior magazine looks at current affairs and helps children make sense of the world, provides context and clarity to complex issues, improves general knowledge and encourages discussion and debate.

To find out more about The Week Junior and to download its free resources, please go to schools.theweekjunior.co.uk.

  • News story
  • Activities sheet
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