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Lesson Title: Landing a Rover
May 11, 2012

Unit: Engineering - Exploration

Grade Levels: 4-6

Connection To Curriculum: Newton's Second Law, Friction, Potential and Kinetic Energy and Measurement

Teacher Prep Time: 30-60 minutes

Lesson Time Needed: Three 1-hour sessions

Complexity Intermediate

Keywords: exploration, engineering, design process, rovers, planet surface, energy, force, momentum

Materials:

Rovers and Landing Pods
Corrugated cardboard
General building supplies and tools
2 small plastic people (approx. 2 cm each)
Plastic egg
4 plastic, cardboard or "Lifesavers" candy wheels
Aluminum foil
Something to use as a ramp (a book would work, but preferably a flat surface that would enable the rover to roll for 50 cm or more)
Bubble wrap
Scale
 

Description
The teams' challenge is to design and build a model of a lunar transport rover that will carry equipment and people on the surface of the moon.

Objectives
Students will:
• Apply the engineering design process.
• Design and build a rover that can roll down a ramp.
• Design and build a landing pod for this rover.
• Meet all engineering design constraints.
• Simulate a lunar landing from a significant height (3 to 5 meters).
• Improve their designed system based on testing results.


First page of Landing a Rover

Lesson Guide
Landing a Rover Lesson
[284KB PDF file]

 

 

Professional Development Training Module for This Lesson

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Lesson Activities and Sequence

  1. Introduce the challenge: Tell students how NASA astronauts will need moon cars - called rovers - to drive across the moon's surface, carry supplies, help build their outpost and explore the area. Ask students why a spacecraft that can land gently is important for getting astronauts to and from the moon safely (scripted in the guide).
  2. Brainstorm and design: Students should be working in cooperative groups to develop a group design and using individual journals to record their decisions, design sketches, test results, etc.
  3. Build, test, evaluate and redesign: Build lunar rovers in session one, build the landing pods in session two, and combine models for landing the lunar rover in the landing pod in session three. Test data, solutions, modifications, etc., should all be recorded in their journals individually. Students must meet the engineering design constraints as outlined by the guide.
  4. Discuss what happened: Ask the students to show each other their lunar rovers and landing pods and talk about how they solved any problems that came up.
  5. Evaluation: Using the students' journals, assess their mastery of content, skills and the engineering design process.

Keywords: exploration, engineering, design process, rovers, planet surface, energy, force, momentum

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Science as Inquiry
• Understanding of scientific concepts.
• Understanding of the nature of science.
• Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.
• Dispositions to use the skills, abilities and attitudes associated with science.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, NCTM
Geometry
• Draw, construct and describe geometrical figures and describe the relationships between them.
• Solve real-life and mathematical problems involving angle measure, area, surface area and volume.

ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Students, ISTE
Creativity and Innovation
Students:
• Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products or processes.
• Create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
• Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
• Identify trends and forecast possibilities.

Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
Students:
• Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
• Plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
• Collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
• Use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.
 

 

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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator