Expedition 56: Take the Journey With Us Attention audiologists and SLPs: ASHA offers a set of curriculum activities to engage your students in the International Space Station’s latest mission. School Matters
School Matters  |   March 01, 2018
Expedition 56: Take the Journey With Us
Author Notes
  • Jaumeiko Coleman, PhD, CCC-SLP, is ASHA director of school services. jcoleman@asha.org
    Jaumeiko Coleman, PhD, CCC-SLP, is ASHA director of school services. jcoleman@asha.org×
Article Information
ASHA News & Member Stories / School Matters
School Matters   |   March 01, 2018
Expedition 56: Take the Journey With Us
The ASHA Leader, March 2018, Vol. 23, 34-35. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM1.23032018.34
The ASHA Leader, March 2018, Vol. 23, 34-35. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM1.23032018.34
Have you ever wondered how astronauts communicate in space? How do they talk with family back on Earth? How do they collaborate with other astronauts on the mission when they don’t speak the same language?
ASHA’s “NASA Expedition 56: Where Communication is Mission-Critical” initiative—coinciding with this month’s launch of Expedition 55-56 to the International Space Station—provides a chance for ASHA members to discuss these questions with students. Members and students can engage with two astronauts and a cosmonaut, who join others at the station for a six-month mission exploring the complexities of living and working in space.
An essential aspect of completing a successful mission involves strong communication skills—a fact well understood by Expedition 55-56 Engineer/Commander Andrew “Drew” Feustel, who is married to speech-language pathologist Indira Bhatnagar Feustel and who is taking mementos of communication sciences and disorders into space (read the Q+A with the Feustels).
STEM, space and speech
The Feustels’ involvement gives students a personal connection to Expedition 55-56 and a launching point for SLPs to weave space-related material into instruction and intervention. Face it, talking about space is fun and motivating for many students. This event also creates exciting ways to incorporate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts into intervention. And it opens doors for interprofessional practice with science teachers and other colleagues.
You can design your own space-related approaches, or use a set of sample curricula developed by ASHA’s School Services team (find a link to more information, including the complete set of activities by grade level). The team established several educational activities for preschool through high school students. We invite educational audiologists and school-based speech-language pathologists to share this exciting event with students and clients!
Each activity in ASHA’s space curriculum addresses a language domain—listening, speaking, reading or writing—as well as a sample state standard. The team also provides a set of sample foundational skills students need to achieve each standard. Check out the chart below for a sample of curriculum activities for different grade levels.

Let’s face it, talking about space is fun and provides ample motivation for many students.

New horizons
Feustel will serve as engineer of Expedition 55 and commander of Expedition 56 while in space for the third time. On his previous missions, he assisted with repair of the Hubble Space Telescope and helped install the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on Space Shuttle Endeavor’s last voyage. Joining him on the launch to the space station in a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, will be Richard Arnold, also a NASA astronaut, and Oleg Artemyev, a Russian cosmonaut.
In addition to performing science experiments and space flight duties, Feustel and Arnold, a former science teacher, will work on NASA’s “STEM on Station” initiatives to engage K–12 teachers and students in learning about space. Students can also expand their horizons by engaging directly with Feustel and his crew. Feustel will give mission updates and answer questions through his Twitter account and students can follow him on Instagram. There’s even a way to track where the crew is and what it’s doing day-by-day on NASA TV.
We hope you will take the journey with ASHA to explore communication in the final frontier!
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March 2018
Volume 23, Issue 3