Acting as engineering teams, students take measurements and make calculations to determine the specific strength of various alloys and then report their data to the rest of the class. Using this class data, students write data-based recommendations to NASA regarding the best alloy to use in the construction of the engine and engine turbines for the Space Launch System that will eventually be used to transport astronauts to Mars.
In this video segment from NASA, robotics researcher Ayanna Howard uses engineering to improve the intelligence of robots in space exploration.
Google teamed up with scientists at the NASA Ames Research Center to create this collection of lunar maps and charts. This tool is an exciting new way to explore the story of the Apollo missions, still the only time mankind has set foot on another world.
Students use water balloons and a length of string to understand how the force of gravity between two objects and the velocity of a spacecraft can balance to form an orbit. They see that when the velocity becomes too great for gravity to hold the spacecraft in orbit, the object escapes the orbit and travels further away from the planet.
In this fast-paced NASA Brain Bites_íěÖ video, an astronaut demonstrates the impact of microgravity on the use of tools in space.
In this investigation, students will explore the question: Can there be life outside of Earth? Students will use planet hunting models to discover how scientists find new planets and perform simulated spectroscopic measurements to determine if the chemical requirements for life are present.
In this video adapted from NOVA scienceNOW, find out about the discovery of a new building material, the carbon nanotube, whose physical properties could theoretically enable the creation of a 22,000-mile elevator to space.
Explore the difficulties faced with collecting samples and how we are searching for evidence of life on Mars with Scripps Institution's Jeff Bada. (52 minutes)
On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission brought the first humans to the Moon. On that day President Nixon spoke with crewmembers Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin via telephone-radio transmission.
Source: This edited presentation features film footage from the White House Staff Super 8 Film Collection and audio from the White House Communications Agency Sound Recording Collection.
Through a study of the moon, students will be guided through an inquiry process using primary sources to learn how we shape our understanding of the past (history). They will also learn how new discoveries and observations change our perceptions over time, as each succeeding generation creates knowledge and adds new technology. Students will then pose their own questions to wonder how future discoveries or new technology might change our understanding of the world and our universe.
Students learn about humankind’s search for life in outer space and how it connects to robotics and engineering. NASA is interested in sending exploratory missions to one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, which requires a lot of preparatory research and development on Earth before it can happen. One robot currently being engineered as a proof of concept for a possible trip to explore Europa is the Icefin, which is an innovative robot that can explore under ice and in water, which are the believed conditions on Europa. This lesson provides students with intriguing information about far off (distance and time!) space missions and field robotics, and also sets up two associated robotics and arts integration activities to follow. The lesson can be used individually to provide new information to students, or as a precursor to the associated activities. A PowerPoint® presentation and worksheet are provided.
In a simulation of potential future space missions to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, student teams are challenged to direct a robot placed in an enclosed maze to search for and find the most “alien life.” The robot is equipped with a camera to send a live feed of its surroundings in the maze. Students control the robot from outside the maze by looking at the live feed on a smartphone and using the robot’s remote control, making a map as they go. The student teams compete as if they are space agencies creating their own exploratory systems to meet the challenge’s criteria and constraints and prove “in the field” that they have the best plan to win the mission contract and get the job. This activity simulates the real-world research of scientists and engineers developing a robot with the capabilities to explore under the ice-covered surface of Europa.
Working as if they were engineers, students design and construct model solar sails made of aluminum foil to move cardboard tube satellites through “space” on a string. Working in teams, they follow the engineering design thinking steps—empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test, redesign—to design and test small-scale solar sails for satellites and space probes. During the process, learn about Newton’s laws of motion and the transfer of energy from wave energy to mechanical energy. A student activity worksheet is provided.
An introduction to our solar system the planets, our Sun and Moon. To begin, students learn about the history and engineering of space travel. They make simple rockets to acquire a basic understanding Newton's third law of motion. They explore energy transfer concepts and use renewable solar energy for cooking. They see how engineers design tools, equipment and spacecraft to go where it is too far and too dangerous for humans. They explore the Earth's water cycle, and gravity as applied to orbiting bodies. They learn the steps of the design process as they create their own models of planetary rovers made of edible parts. Students conduct experiments to examine soil for signs of life, and explore orbit transfers. While studying about the International Space Station, they investigate the realities of living in space. Activities explore low gravity on human muscles, eating in microgravity, and satellite tracking. Finally, students learn about the context of our solar system the universe as they learn about the Hubble Space Telescope, celestial navigation and spectroscopy.
Students will watch clips from CNN's Soundtracks to identify historic details of NASA's Apollo program. Students will then identify poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron's critical view of the Apollo program through his song, "Whitey On The Moon" and participate in a structured academic controversy activity to debate the controversy of the program.
This unit begins by introducing students to the historical motivation for space exploration. They learn about the International Space Station, including current and futuristic ideas that engineers are designing to propel space research. Then they learn about the physical properties of the Moon, and think about what types of products engineers would need to design in order for humans to live on the Moon. Lastly, students learn some descriptive facts about asteroids, such as their sizes and how that relates to the potential danger of an asteroid colliding with the Earth.
This brochure is offered as a tool for science, technology, engineering and mathematics educators who are working with students with disabilities. Some activity descriptions are supplemented with case study examples addressing a particular disability.