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New Aeronautics Activities for the Back-to-School Season

Artist illustration of Back to School with a bookbag, basketball, art supplies, aviation vehicles, glasses, math formulas and a paper airplane.

Kids are going back to school across the country – and NASA Aeronautics is here to help educators engage them with educational Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) activities related to our flight research.

Part of NASA’s agency-wide Back to School campaign for the 2022-2023 school year, this updated aeronautics-focused STEM engagement portfolio includes topics that span the breadth of the agency’s work in aeronautics for students of all ages.

“This year, we have brand new resources readily available for educators to support their students’ learning,” said April Lanotte, NASA Aeronautics’ STEM integration lead. “These NASA-tailored products are a unique, inspiring way to engage students.”

For example, a STEM toolkit about the Quesst mission is making its debut. Quesst will see NASA’s quiet supersonic X-59 airplane conduct research that could one day enable faster-than-sound air travel everywhere. This new toolkit is the second part of a new STEM package for educators and follows the previously-released Sustainable Aviation toolkit.

The Quesst toolkit includes videos, lessons, stories for readers of several different levels, and other educational activities. These materials teach about the science of sound and our Quesst mission, which will use a specially-designed airplane that does not produce loud sonic booms.

Another popular resource in the classroom still available is NASA’s Smart Skies program.

The Smart Skies math program is a digital tool that helps teach students in grades 5-9 math concepts such as distance, rate, and time through the lens of air traffic management.

In addition to these utilities, NASA Aeronautics is continuing the Flight Log activity, which allows students, educators, and even entire classrooms to join us in flight.

When you submit your name online and receive a boarding pass, NASA downloads it onto a flash drive and flies it onboard our research aircraft and X-planes. Along with your boarding pass, you also earn downloadable mission patches and endorsements upon successful completion of flights and other fun activities and goals.

Last month, Flight Log embarked its first flight – being carried onboard our DC-8 Airborne Science Laboratory as it flew through large thunderstorms conducting research for the High Ice Water Content activity. More flights are on the way, such as the first flights of our X-57 Maxwell and X-59 experimental aircraft.

One more addition to our STEM resources is a new series of downloadable posters. The Faces of Flight series is available to be downloaded, printed, and displayed in the classroom. Each poster features a photo of one of our aeronautical innovators.

All of these new products are on top of our large catalogue of aeronautics-related STEM resources for educators such as hands-on activities, coloring pages, e-books, and more.

About the Author

John Gould

John Gould

Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate

John Gould is a member of NASA Aeronautics' Strategic Communications team at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. He is dedicated to public service and NASA’s leading role in scientific exploration. Prior to working for NASA Aeronautics, he was a spaceflight historian and writer, having a lifelong passion for space and aviation.



Last Updated
Mar 22, 2024
Lillian Gipson

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