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Engineering Units and Lessons for Grades 7-9
 
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Engineering Units and Lessons


Aeronautics Unit
Lesson Description Prep Time Lesson Time Needed Complexity
Getting Off the Ground Into the Smart Skies! Computer-based mathematics-focused introduction into the Air Traffic Control system. Using the Smart Skies: Line up with Math activity, students learn how NASA engineers use air traffic control simulations to make flying safer and more efficient. 1 Hour 2 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. 1 Hour 1.5 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. 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. 4-6 Hours Twelve 45-Minute Sessions Advanced
On Target Challenge Students design and build a shock-absorbing system that will protect two "astronauts" when they land. 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. 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. 4-8 Hours Seven 45-Minute Sessions Advanced


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. 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. 3 Hours 12-18 Days Advanced
Make a Balloon Powered Nanorover Design and build a robotic rover with cardboard and a balloon. 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. 20 Minutes 45 Minutes-1.5 Hours Moderate
Project X51 -- Water rocket Construction Students form "rocket companies" and compete in a commercial endeavor to construct a rocket capable of lifting payloads into Earth orbit. 2 Hours 2 Weeks Moderate
Spaghetti Anyone? - Building with Pasta Engineering design process to build a structure to handle the greatest load. Gain firsthand experience with compression and tension forces. 15 Minutes 1.5 Hours Basic
Student Glovebox -- Droplet Investigation of Liquids An inquiry-based technology lesson to construct a sealed container with built-in gloves and to explore the properties of liquids. 1 Hour 4-8 Hours Moderate
Water Filtration System Lesson challenges students to create and test a water filtering system. The activities in this lesson focus on water recovery and management. 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 that will carry two cm-sized passengers safely and will fit within a certain volume (size limitation). 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. 30-60 Minutes 3 One-Hour Sessions Intermediate
Moon Rovers Students will design and build a rubber band-powered rover that can scramble across the room. 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. 15-30 Minutes 1 Hour Basic


Robotics Unit
Lesson Description Prep Time Lesson Time Needed Complexity
Robotics -- Hands Down! Lesson includes a series of activities that are based on Robotics applications. 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. 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. 30 Minutes 1-2 Hours Basic
Nose Cone Aerodynamics Students compare the aerodynamic features of different nose cone designs. 30 Minutes 1 Hour Moderate
Ride the Wind: Compressed Air Rocketry Students construct rockets from simple materials to test engineering designs that affect the dynamics of flight. 30 Minutes 2 Hours Moderate




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