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    BROWSE BY SUBJECT

    NASA's Math and Science @ Work project provides challenging supplemental problems for students in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM classes including Physics, Calculus, Biology, Chemistry and Statistics, along with problems for advanced courses in U.S. History and Human Geography.

Calculus

  • Space Shuttle Auxiliary Power Units

    Space Shuttle Auxiliary Power Units

    This problem focuses on the MMACS flight controller. Students learn about one of his/her duties in monitoring the Auxiliary Power Units of the space shuttle. Students will apply various calculus concepts including an application of related rates. The focus is on interpretation of the derivative as a rate of change.

  • Space Shuttle Guidance, Navigation, and Control Data

    Space Shuttle Guidance, Navigation, and Control Data

    This problem focuses on the GNC flight controller. Students learn about the state vector that the GNC flight controller monitors and is introduced to the coordinate system that is used in tracking the space shuttle. Students will analyze a table of data to generate parametric functions.

  • Next Generation Spacecraft

    Next Generation Spacecraft

    In this real world application, students will use integration to find the volume of the Orion Crew Module - NASA's newest spacecraft.

  • Space Shuttle Ascent

    Space Shuttle Ascent

    Students will utilize graphing calculators to make applications of differentiation to the mission data of a space shuttle ascent phase.

  • The Lunar Lander - Ascending from the Moon

    The Lunar Lander - Ascending from the Moon

    In this exploration activity, students will use the application of differentiation – related rates, to solve problems pertaining to the ascent portion of the Lunar Lander.

  • Lunar Surface Communications

    Lunar Surface Communications

    Future outposts on the Moon will require lunar surface equipment to maintain communications with Earth. Students will use differentiation - chain rule to derive a solution to this space exploration problem.

Physics

  • Training For a New Spacecraft – Center of Gravity

    Training For a New Spacecraft – Center of Gravity

    Students will use their knowledge of physics and center of gravity to evaluate a critical property that must be understood in order to simulate egress scenarios after capsule splashdown.

  • Training For a New Spacecraft – Moment of Inertia

    Training For a New Spacecraft – Moment of Inertia

    Students will use their knowledge of physics and moment of inertia to evaluate a critical property that must be understood in order to simulate egress scenarios after capsule splashdown.

  • Ionizing Radiation Exposure

    Ionizing Radiation Exposure

    Outside of the Earth’s protective atmosphere, the ISS is exposed to ionizing radiation and electromagnetic radiation. Students will analyze the radiation that could cause problems on the International Space Station.

  • Space Shuttle Orbital Docking System

    Space Shuttle Orbital Docking System

    The space shuttle docks and undocks with the International Space Station with the help of the space shuttle’s orbital docking system. This system uses both torsional and compression springs to damp out the energy as these two vehicles essentially collide in space.

  • Space Shuttle Landing

    Space Shuttle Landing

    This problem focuses on the MMACS flight controller, who monitors the data associated with the landing and deceleration procedures of the space shuttle. Students will apply equations of motion, force, work and energy and graphically interpret real data.

  • Space Shuttle Short Circuit

    Space Shuttle Short Circuit

    This problem focuses on the EGIL flight controller, who monitors the electrical systems, fuel cells and associated cryogenics of NASA's space shuttle. Using a circuit layout from the space shuttle, students will apply Ohm's law to solve for unknowns.

  • Lunar Surface Instrumentation

    Lunar Surface Instrumentation

    On the lunar surface, environmental sensors and instruments will need to be placed within proximity of a lunar outpost. Students will work with vector addition to find an answer to this space exploration problem.

  • Lunar Surface Instrumentation: Part II

    Lunar Surface Instrumentation: Part II

    Students will analyze two different approaches for completing a task based on a number of constraints and will determine the optimal method. Students will apply vector addition, as well as critical thinking skills.

  • Lunar Landing

    Lunar Landing

    Students will apply equations of motion and force to solve for unknowns in this real world application about human exploration missions to the Moon.

  • Weightless Wonder

    Weightless Wonder - Reduced Gravity Flights

    Students will learn about the parabolic flights of NASA's C9 jet - the Weightless Wonder, as they use equations of motion to derive a solution to a real life problem.

  • Space Shuttle Roll Maneuver

    Space Shuttle Roll Maneuver

    This problem focuses on the GNC flight controller and on the engines used to control the attitude of the space shuttle. Students will apply integration techniques to evaluate impulse and angular momentum and will evaluate the rotational kinematics, torque and energy associated with a roll maneuver.

  • Space Shuttle Launch Motion Analysis

    Space Shuttle Launch Motion Analysis

    This problem focuses on the FDO flight controller and on the ascent of the space shuttle. Students will use integration techniques as they analyze an acceleration-time graph to determine velocity and displacement.

  • ARED

    ARED – Resistive Exercise in Space

    The Advanced Resistive Exercise Device, or ARED, is one of the exercise devices astronauts use aboard the International Space Station. ARED uses vacuum cylinders to simulate free weights for resistive exercise that helps astronauts maintain bone and muscle strength while in space. In this activity, students will analyze different aspects of the mechanics of the ARED device.

Biology

  • Renal Stone Risk to Astronauts

    Renal Stone Risk to Astronauts

    In this activity, students will utilize their knowledge of biology and the human body to examine the issue of renal stone formation in astronauts exposed to reduced gravity.

  • Preventing Decompression Sickness on Spacewalks

    Preventing Decompression Sickness on Spacewalks

    Astronauts go through a denitrogenation process prior to all spacewalks. Students will apply principles learned about dissolved oxygen in aquatic ecosystems to evaluate nitrogen solubility in the human body.

  • Space Bugs

    Space Bugs TI Nspire™ Lab Activity

    Multiple spaceflight experiments have demonstrated that microorganisms change the way they grow and respond when cultured in the spaceflight environment.

  • Respiration in Space Flight

    Respiration in Space Flight

    This problem focuses on the EECOM flight controller, who monitors the gas concentrations and pressures with the space shuttle cabin. Students are introduced to the space shuttle's CO2 removal process and will analyze respiration rates and metabolic activity from graphical data provided. They will relate gas production/consumption to respiration/metabolism and evaluate the physiological impact of changes in O2/CO2 concentrations to various human systems.

  • Microgravity Effects on Human Physiology: Circulatory System

    Microgravity Effects on Human Physiology: Circulatory System

    This problem focuses on the Flight Surgeon and his role in keeping astronauts healthy before, during, and after flight. Students will examine the effects of gravity on the evolution of form and function in the human circulatory system and will connect space biology and related medical pathologies on Earth.

  • Skeletal System

    Microgravity Effects on Human Physiology: Skeletal System

    This problem focuses on the Flight Surgeon and his role in keeping astronauts healthy before, during, and after flight. Students will apply their knowledge of feedback mechanisms and homeostasis and will evaluate the physiological impact of bone mineral loss to various human systems.

  • Circulatory System TI-Nspire Lab

    Physiology of the Circulatory System TI-Nspire™ Lab Activity

    In this Lab activity, students will learn about and evaluate the physiological changes of the circulatory system that occur in astronauts’ bodies when shifting from Earth’s gravity to microgravity.

  • Immune Response

    Microgravity Effects on Human Physiology: Immune System

    Students will learn about some of the implications of spaceflight on the immune response and connect it to classroom learning.

Chemistry

  • Diving Down Deep

    Diving Down Deep (TI-Nspire™)

    Students will explore a method for adding air to a gas cylinder and determine the amount of gas needed by a diver during an astronaut training session at the NBL pool.

  • The Chemistry Involved in Bone Loss

    The Chemistry Involved in Bone Loss (TI-Nspire™)

    Students will learn about research from NASA's Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratory and look at the reaction between sulfuric acid and Calcium carbonate, the chemical that makes up bones.

  • Dietary Impacts on Astronauts’ Bones

    Dietary Impacts on Astronauts’ Bones

    This activity will have students analyze the chemical reaction that occurs in bone and propose a possible avenue for astronauts to decrease bone mineral loss.

  • Generating Water in Space

    Generating Water in Space

    Aboard the International Space Station (ISS), a precise life support system generates water to be used by the crew members. In this activity students will analyze the reaction that takes place in this chemical process with hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

  • Space Shuttle Propulsion System

    Space Shuttle Propulsion System

    This problem focuses on the PROP flight controller and his/her duties in monitoring the propellant for the RCS and OMS engines of the space shuttle. Students will identify the geometric structure, hybridization, and bonding of molecules and evaluate characteristics of reactions to determine the behavior.

  • Cryogenic Storage

    Cryogenic Storage

    This problem focuses on the EGIL flight controller, who monitors the electrical systems, fuel cells and associated cryogenics of NASA’s space shuttle. Students will find volume of gases using the ideal gas law and will create and interpret a phase diagram to explain a real world problem involving the space shuttle.

  • Fuel Cell Generation

    Fuel Cell Generation

    This problem focuses on the EGIL flight controller, who monitors the electrical systems, fuel cells and associated cryogenics of NASA’s space shuttle. Students will find mass and molar ratios of reactants through stoichiometry and use half reactions to determine standard cell potential.

  • Carbon Dioxide Removal - Stoichiometry

    Carbon Dioxide Removal - Stoichiometry

    This problem focuses on the EECOM flight controller, who monitors the gas concentrations and pressures with the space shuttle cabin. Students apply the Ideal Gas Law and Stoichiometry to determine the number of canisters and mass of LiOH required to remove the CO2.

  • Carbon Dioxide Removal - Thermodynamics

    Carbon Dioxide Removal - Thermodynamics

    This problem focuses on the EECOM flight controller and students are introduced to the space shuttle’s CO2 removal process. They will apply several concepts and equations of thermochemistry as they analyze this situation.

  • Oxygen Generator System

    Oxygen Generator System

    Students will learn about how the OGS produces breathable oxygen for the crew by converting wastewater from the ISS into oxygen and hydrogen through the process of electrolysis.

  • A Breath of Fresh Air

    A Breath of Fresh Air Lab Activity

    In this lab activity Students will learn about the electrolysis process that is used on the ISS to produce oxygen and will then perform their own electrolysis.

Statistics

  • Integrated Medical Model

    The Integrated Medical Model

    The Integrated Medical Model (IMM), is a Monte Carlo simulation-based tool designed to quantify the probability of the medical risks and potential consequences that astronauts could experience during a mission.

  • Spacecraft Radar Tracking

    Spacecraft Radar Tracking

    In this activity, students will look at data from an uncalibrated radar and a calibrated radar and determine how statistically significant the error is between the two different data sets.

  • Predicting Metabolic Rates of Astronauts

    Predicting Metabolic Rates of Astronauts

    Students will analyze the data collected from a NASA experiment performed to develop a model that predicts metabolic rates of astronauts and use different approaches to estimate the metabolic rates and compare their estimates to NASA’s estimates.

  • Display Design: A Human Factor of Spaceflight

    Display Design: A Human Factor of Spaceflight

    Students will evaluate the data compiled from an astronaut response time experiment and perform a hypothesis test to determine whether there is a difference in the response times that would indicate one being preferred over the other.

  • Spacewalk Training

    Spacewalk Training

    The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) allows astronauts an atmosphere resembling zero gravity (weightlessness) in order to train. Students will evaluate pressures experienced by astronauts and scuba divers who assist them while training in the NBL.

  • Maintaining Bone Mineral Density

    Maintaining Bone Mineral Density

    Students will analyze two different exercise countermeasures and construct null and alternative hypotheses to determine their relative effectiveness in maintaining bone mineral density.

U.S. History

  • Presidents and the Development of NASA

    The Presidents and the Development of NASA

    Students will interpret primary and secondary sources to evaluate the role that Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon played in the development of the space program. Students will analyze their responses in meeting challenges of the space race and their effectiveness in doing so.

  • Race to Space

    Race to Space

    Students will interpret primary and secondary sources to determine how the "race to space" from 1957-1969 reflected political, social, and economic aspects of the Cold War.

  • Technological Impacts of the Apollo Program

    Technological Impact of the Apollo Program

    Students will interpret primary and secondary sources to determine how the technology of the Apollo Program brought about change to health and safety in the United States during the time period 1961-1977. Two supplementary documents are provided for teachers to use in preparing students on this topic.

Human Geography

  • Diffusion of NASA Technology

    Diffusion of NASA Technology

    After students learn about the many NASA technologies that have been integrated into society since the Apollo program, they will answer a free-response essay question explaining the diffusion involved.

  • Imipact of NASA Center Locations

    The Impact of NASA Center Locations

    Students will learn about the process involved in determining the location of two NASA centers — the Johnson Space Center and the Kennedy Space Center. Students will answer a free-response question analyzing the human and physical advantages and disadvantages associated with the location of these centers. They will also analyze the political influences involved in the site selection process.

  • Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

    Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

    Students will learn about the collaboration of the United States and the Soviet Union during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. Students will analyze the centrifugal and centripetal forces that were evident during the time frame as they explain the relationship the United States had with the Soviet Union regarding Space Exploration.

  • Immigration and its Effects on NASA

    Immigration and Its Effects on NASA

    This problem introduces students to the immigration involvement as NASA’s Apollo program began. Students will analyze the economic and social effect of migration on Eastern Europe and the United States in the mid-20th century as it relates to this topic.