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Engineering Units and Lessons for Grades 7-9
Life Science
Grades 4-6
 
Physical Science
Grades 4-6
 
Earth and Space Science
Grades 7-9
 
Engineering
Grades 7-9
Leaf with water droplets
NASA shuttle launching into space
Earth
Artist rendition of a Mars rover
 


Aeronautics Unit


Lesson Description Prep Time Lesson Time Needed Complexity
Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics Students perform a series of simulations to explore the theory and practice of flight.
Keywords: Newton's Laws of Motion, forces of flight, lift, drag, thrust, engineering design process, kites
1 Hour per computer simulation 1 Hour per computer simulation Advanced
Getting Off the Ground into the Smart Skies! Computer-based mathematics-focused introduction into the Air Traffic Control, or ATC, system. Using the Smart Skies: Line Up With Math activity, students learn how NASA engineers use ATC simulations to make flying safer and more efficient.
Keywords: air traffic control, simulator, computer-based
1 Hour 3 Hours Moderate
Getting the Drop on Flight with the 'X' Planes Students learn how small-scale models developed with simple materials can result in new aircraft and future space launch vehicles.
Keywords: X-planes, gliders, flight testing, models
1 Hour 1.25 Hours Moderate
Learning the 'Wright' Way to Fly! Students construct 3 different kite models and predict the most effective design. Design and test and aircraft given several parameters and explain how early flight was influenced by kites.
Keywords: kite, forces of flight, Newton's laws, laws of motion
1 Hour 2.5 Hours Moderate

Challenges Unit


Lesson Description Prep Time Lesson Time Needed Complexity
Electrodynamic Propulsion Activity challenges students to solve a real-world problem that is part of the space program using creativity, cleverness, and scientific knowledge, while learning about electricity, magnetism, forces and energy transfer. 4-8 Hours Twelve 45-Minute Sessions Advanced
On Target Challenge Students modify a paper cup so it can zip down a line and drop a marble onto a target.
Keywords: engineering challenge, scientific method, rockets, moon, Newton's laws, engineering design process, moon, Mars, acceleration, vector, trajectory, potential energy, kinetic energy, LCROSS
15-30 Minutes 1 Hour Basic
Spacecraft Structures Activity challenges students to solve a real-world problem that is part of the space program using creativity, cleverness and scientific knowledge while learning about forces, structures and energy transfer.
Keywords: engineering challenge, scientific method, rocket, thrust structure, engineering design process, force, motion, energy transfer,potential energy, kinetic energy, unbalanced forces, compression
4-8 Hours Six 45-Minute Sessions Moderate
Thermal Protection Systems Challenge Activity challenges students to solve a real-world problem that is part of the space program while learning about heat and heat transfer.
Keywords: engineering challenge, scientific method, heat transfer, transfer of energy, engineering design process, space shuttle, tiles, conductor, insulator, radiation, ablative shield
4-8 Hours Seven 45-Minute Sessions Advanced
Touchdown Challenge Students design and build a shock-absorbing system that will protect two "astronauts" when they land.
Keywords: engineering challenge, scientific method, rockets, moon, Newton's laws, engineering design process, moon, Mars, energy
15-30 Minutes 1 Hour Basic

Design Process Unit


Lesson Description Prep Time Lesson Time Needed Complexity
Build a Solar Oven Engineering design challenge to design and build a solar box cooker, and test it out to see if it works well enough to make S'mores.
Keywords: energy, solar radiation, data
1 Hour 1 Hour Basic
Lunar Plant Growth Chamber Activity to grow plants in an environment similar to the moon designed in a unique partnership between NASA scientists and engineers and education professionals.
Keywords: botany, design process, ecosystem
3 Hours 12-18 Days Advanced
Make a Balloon-Powered Nanorover Design and build a robotic rover with cardboard and a balloon.
Keywords: design process, energy, motion, robotics, vision, direction
40 Minutes 1 Hour Moderate
Mars Pathfinder Egg Drop Challenge Design, build and drop your "Pathfinder" from a high place and see if your payload (egg) survives.
Keywords: design process, landing, Newton's laws
20 Minutes 45 Minutes-1.5 Hours Moderate
Project X-51 - Water Rocket Construction Students form "rocket companies" and compete in a commercial endeavor to construct a rocket capable of lifting payloads into Earth orbit.
Keywords: rockets, design process, business plan
2 Hours 2 Weeks Moderate
Spaghetti Anyone? Building With Pasta Engineering design process to build a structure to handle the greatest load. Gain first-hand experience with compression and tension forces.
Keywords: design process, structures, geometry, failure
15 Minutes 1.5 Hours Basic
Student Glovebox - Droplet Investigation of Liquids Inquiry-based technology lesson to construct a sealed container with built-in gloves and to explore the properties of liquids.
Keywords: fluids, viscosity, design process
1 Hour 4-8 Hours Moderate
Water Filtration System Lesson challenges students to create and test a water filtering system. Activities focus on water recovery and management.
Keywords: water quality, filtration, remediation, scarcity
1 Hour 5-6 Hours Moderate

Exploration Unit


Lesson Description Prep Time Lesson Time Needed Complexity
Crew Exploration Vehicle Students design and build a crew exploration vehicle, or CEV, that will carry two cm-sized passengers safely and will fit within a certain volume (size limitation).
Keywords: engineering, design process, rovers, entry, descent, landing
15-30 Minutes 1-2 Hours Intermediate
Landing a Rover 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.
Keywords: exploration, engineering, design process, rovers, planet surface, energy, force, momentum
30-60 Minutes Three 1-Hour Sessions Intermediate
Moon Rovers Students design and build a rubber band-powered rover that can scramble across the room.
Keywords: exploration, engineering, design process, rovers, energy, force, momentum
15-30 Minutes 1 Hour Basic
NASA Simulations Students use NASA web-based simulators to follow sequenced directions and complete ordered tasks while learning how the shuttle is made ready for flight, how the shuttle docks with the International Space Station, how the shuttle lands, and how NASA retrieves the solid rocket boosters.
Keywords: simulations, computer simulations, computer-based
15-30 Minutes 1 Hour Basic

Robotics Unit


Lesson Description Prep Time Lesson Time Needed Complexity
Heavy Lifter Students design and build a crane out of cardboard. Determine methods to reinforce the crane's arms so it doesn't collapse under a heavy load, and build a crank handle.
Keywords: engineering, design process, rovers, entry, descent, landing
20 Minutes 1.5 Hours Basic
Robotics - Hands Down! Lesson includes a series of activities that are based on robotics applications.
Keywords: effector, pick up, grab, space station, glove
20 Minutes 3 Hours Basic
Using Robotics Students simulate operating a planetary rover and problem solve solutions. Work within a mission team setting to problem solve and accomplish a common goal, and research examples of real world applications of robotics.
Keywords: programming, control, remote
20 Minutes 3 Hours Moderate

Rocketry Unit


Lesson Description Prep Time Lesson Time Needed Complexity
Heavy Lifting Air Engines Students use balloons to demonstrate concepts applied by jet and rocket engines to supply thrust for movement.
Keywords: jets, airplanes, balloons, aeronautics, thrust, rockets, vectoring, Newton's Laws of Motion
30 Minutes 1-2 Hours Basic
Nose Cone Aerodynamics Students compare the aerodynamic features of different nose cone designs.
Keywords: engineering design process, Newton's Laws of Motion, engine, gravity, drag, parachutes, fin, payload, trajectory, stability, launcher rocket,wind tunnel, propulsion, lift, drag, weight, thrust
30 Minutes 1 Hour Moderate

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