H.T.  Rae
Grades 3-5


Resources are limited and should be managed for the greatest benefit.

Objective: Students will

• Realize that it is everyone’s responsibility to manage and take care of our limited natural resources.

State Standards:


Understand the relationships among living things and between living things and their environments.

Identify and describe the factors that influence or change the balance of populations in their environment.


Understand the properties and limited availability of the materials that make up the Earth.

Recognize that Earth materials are limited, and explore strategies for addressing this problem.


45 minutes


Paper, pencil, crayons or colored pens



Solicit responses from students to the question. What is a simulation?”

Have the students pretend they are white water rafting to illustrate one example of a simulation. Have students pull on a life jacket, paddle using a simulated canoe paddle, eat lunch, avoid a rock, back paddle to keep from going over a water fall, etc.

The H.T. Rae:

Participants are divided into problem-solving groups and the H.T. Rae story is read aloud or shown on an overhead transparency.

Encourage groups to brainstorm solutions to the problem. Participants may either write down their solutions or may draw sketches illustrating what they would do to solve the problem. Each group is to share one or two solutions that represent the general feeling of the entire group. Record the suggestions on the board o on a large sheet of butcher paper.

Read the ending to the story or show it on the overhead projector. Ask the class which of the solutions suggested by the class might really work.

Once participants realize that the astronaut group, the Uoy, really represents the majority of us, participants often times change their minds about what should be done to solve the problem.

Solutions suggested by other students:

“Lock them up in a space jail and throw away the key”

“Confine them to their won space and only give them enough food to barely exist”

“Tell them what they are doing wrong and warn them that if they don’t change that they’ll be punished”

“Train them about recycling and other things that will make them understand how to improve”

“Force them out of the spaceship into space and let them deal with what it’s like out there”

“Torture them by only giving them a few crumbs to eat until they learn their lesson”

“Do the same to them…..take their food, mess up their air and water….maybe they won’t be so mean if they saw how it felt”

H.T. Rae questions for discussion:

Shall we lock up all people who pollute the air and water?
Many people drive automobiles. What should be done about all of those people who pollute the air with their automobiles?
What shall we do with the people who generate garbage? After all, most garbage is disposed of in a way that pollutes. Using landfills to bury garbage and incineration to burn garbage each presents a unique pollution problem.
What about people who waste electricity? Leaving electrical appliances and devices on when they’re not being used wastes energy. More energy must be produced when we waste it, and producing energy is expensive and impacts the earth by using valuable resources.
Ask other questions that draw attention to the fact that each of us pollutes and wastes resources to some extent.

The H.T. Rae is a large spaceship that contains everything required for a long mission to explore the universe. Garden plots with fertile soul provide enough food for all of the astronauts for the length of their voyage. The ship also has the ability to continually purify air and water, recycling these elements for the astronauts’ use. The ship, however, only has a limited amount of natural resources on board and acquiring additional resources would not be a possibility for the astronauts. Wise use of the natural resources on board is important if the ship is expected to have enough for its entire voyage. The H.T. Rae is fully equipped to support everyone on board, but each of its systems must be carefully maintained, as there is no extra water, air, soil, food or resources. The successful maintenance of the entire ship and its systems depends on the careful balance of each of its elements and on the cooperative behavior of all the astronauts.

On board the H.R. Rae are many groups of astronauts. Most of the different groups work very well together and help one another for the good of the ship. One of these groups, the Uoy, is well-known for wanting more food than their own areas can produce. They buy, and sometimes take, some of the other astronauts’ resources. They don’t use resources wisely, in fact, they have been known to throw away their excess food and waste. This pollution has created a problem with the entire ship’s clean water supply. Often times, the Uoy, have been known to burn their excess waste, polluting the entire ship’s air supply. This one group of astronauts have really had quite an impact on the rest of the ship.

What should be done?

H.T. RAE is Earth spelled backwards, and the spaceship represents Planet Earth. Uoy is “You” spelled backwards – this is to point out what we, as human beings, are often guilty of using more natural resources than we need. We are often guilty of throwing away and burying or burning our waste, which, of course, pollutes our water and air. All of the air, water, soil, and natural resources we will ever have is on the Earth now. We breathe the same air the dinosaurs breathed and drink the same water they drank. In a very short period of time we are rapidly using up natural resources that have taken millions of years to make. We are the astronauts on Spaceship Earth, and it is our responsibility to keep the ecosystem in balance for future generations of inhabitants and to use our natural resources wisely.