Directive: Mapping the Moon with WALL-E

Target Audience
  • Students
Hosting Center(s)
  • Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Armstrong Flight Research Center
  • Kennedy Space Center
Subject Category
  • Earth Science
  • Physical Science
  • Math
Unit Correlation
  • Exploring NASA Missions
  • Exploring Space
  • Exploring Earth
Grade Level
  • K-04
  • 05-08
Minimum Delivery Time
  • 030 min(s)
Maximum Connection Time
  • 060 min(s)

Event Focus


What keeps NASA busy when not sending astronauts into space? How does a satellite help us construct a topographic map of a surface? (for 5-8 module)




This module is appropriate for video conference AND web conference presentation at Goddard Space Flight Center, Kennedy Space Center, and Johnson Space Center (no Skype at JSC)

This module is appropriate for video conference (not web conference presentation ONLY at Dryden Flight Research Center.

Many students have the misconception that NASA only sends astronauts to space, when in reality, NASA has over 60 science missions currently taking place in addition to the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. This module will introduce students to a few of the newest NASA missions. It also features NASA's efforts to Return to the Moon with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Crater and Observation Sensing Satellite (LCROSS). During the grade 5-8 module, we will also introduce students to the concepts behind satellite data collection with a hands-on demonstration of the LIDAR instrument on LRO.


Instructional Objectives


Kindergarten - Grade 4:




Learners will describe familiar images of objects in space.



Learners will understand two careers at NASA and how the careers work together.



Learners will identify a new NASA science mission and its objectives to accomplish.



Learners will relate a surface map of the North America to a major objective of NASA’s mission to the Moon.



Learners will explain the importance of finding solid water (ice) at the poles of the Moon.

Grades 5 - 8





Learners will describe the difference between NASA’s manned and robotic missions.



Learners will be understand that NASA has a large science program that accomplishes its missions through satellites.



Learners will apply data analysis skills and identify the topography of a given surface by determining the time/distance relationship between that surface and a satellite.



Learners will graph the results of the data acquired during an activity.




Learners will explain the importance of finding solid water (ice) at the poles of the Moon.


Sequence of Events


Pre-Conference Activities


When you register for this event, please provide preference to the K-4 module or 5-8 module in the notes section of the registration page.

What is lunar topography? Lead a discussion with your students so they may understand lunar topographic features. Have students look at photos of the Moon from lpod.wikispaces.com and see the differences in the surface features of the Moon. Define and identify craters, maria (large, dark, basaltic plains), and mountains of the lunar surface. Questions to explore with students are: Which side of the moon has more craters? Why are lunar maria darker than other surface features? Where did the Apollo missions land on the Moon?


Please download Educator Guide and print student sheets for the activity.


K-4 Guide           

5-8 Guide           



Videoconference Activities


(Middle school) Students will be participating in a hands-on, interactive mission to demonstrate the LIDAR technology that is employed on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). This technology will allow NASA scientists to develop a map of the lunar surface. Using student volunteers in the classroom, a kickball, a timer, and graph worksheets, the presenter will help the LIDAR technology come to life for the students. A topographical map will be created based on the horizontal placement of the student volunteers and the data collected in the mission.


Post-Conference Activities


Measure the diameter of a lunar crater. Students will need a Moon lithograph (http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/Ea...), rulers, pencils, paper, and a calculator. They will need pre-knowledge of how to apply a ratio. Students select one crater from the lithograph and measure its diameter. Then, they will measure the diameter of the moon in the picture. Students can find the actual diameter of the Moon from information that is listed on the back of the lithograph. They will set up an equation and find the actual diameter of the selected crater. For more details, download the full educator guide listed below.




Science as Inquiry

* Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

* Understandings about scientific inquiry

Earth and Space Science

* Earth in the Solar System

Science and Technology

* Understandings about science and technology

History and Nature of Science

* Science as a human endeavor

National Mathematics Content Standards:

* Collect data using observations, surveys, and experiments

* Represent data using tables and graphs such as line plots, bar graphs, and line graphs

National Technology Content Standards:

* Characteristics and scope of technology

* Development of technology

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Page Last Updated: November 5th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator