Classroom Activity

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Key Topics: Measurement, right triangles

Engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center have designed and tested the Capsule Parachute Assembly System (CPAS) for the new crew exploration vehicle. Since the actual piece of equipment is large, engineers use small 3D models to analyze size and performance. Students will create a table, using scale factor, showing the actual dimensions and the scale models dimensions of several structural pieces of the CPAS structure. Area and volume calculations will also be performed to ensure that the CPAS design meets necessary requirements.

Students will
  • use scale factor to complete a table;
  • use the Pythagorean Theorem;
  • calculate the volume of a cylinder;
  • calculate the area of a circle;
  • investigate how changes in scale factor affect volume; and
  • investigate how changes in scale factor affect area.

› Oh Chute! Educator Edition ( PDF 369 KB)
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