# NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

## Education

Text Size

Lesson Title: On Target Challenge

Unit: Engineering -- Challenges

Connection To Curriculum:
Newton's First Law, Potential and
Kinetic Energy, Acceleration Due
to Gravity, Vectors, Trajectory
and Measurement

Teacher Prep Time: 15-30 minutes

Lesson Time Needed: 1 hour

Complexity: Basic

Keywords: engineering challenge,
scientific method, rockets, moon,
Newton's laws, engineering design
process, moon, Mars, acceleration,
vector, trajectory, potential energy,
kinetic energy, LCROSS

Materials:
(per zip line)
9 feet (3 m) of smooth line (e.g., fishing line or kite string)
Index card
Marble
Paper clip
1 medium-sized paper cup
Scissors
Target drawn on a piece of paper

Description
Students will modify a paper cup so it can zip down a line and drop a marble onto a target.

Objectives
Students will:
• Apply the engineering design process.
• Modify a cup to carry a marble down a zip line.
• Test their cup by sliding it down the zip line, releasing the marble and trying to hit a target on the floor.
• Improve their system based on testing results.

 Lesson Guide On Target Lesson [387KB PDF file]

Lesson Activities and Sequence
Access the On Target activity.
1. Introduce the challenge: Tell kids how NASA will use the LCROSS spacecraft to search for water on the moon (scripted in the Leader Notes).
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: Test data, solutions, modifications, etc., should all be recorded in their journals individually.
4. Discuss what happened: Ask the students to show each other their modified cups and talk about how they solved any problems that came up.
5. Evaluation: Using the students' journal entries, assess their mastery of content, skills and the engineering design process.
Keywords: engineering challenge, scientific method, rockets, moon, Newton's laws, engineering design process, moon, Mars, acceleration, vector, trajectory, potential energy, kinetic energy, LCROSS

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.
• The dispositions to use the skills, abilities and attitudes associated with science.
Physical Science
• Position and motion of objects.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, NCTM
Expressions and Equations
• Apply and extend previous understandings of arithmetic to algebraic expressions.
• Solve real-life and mathematical problems using numerical and algebraic expressions and equations.
• Understand the connections between proportional relationships, lines and linear equations.

ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Students, ISTE
Creativity and Innovation
• 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
• 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.