Let It Glide - Content

Loading ...

Challenge Content

NACA/NASA 100th Anniversary Graphic  GRC Hangar Aerial View  Shuttle Model in wind tunnel  Illustration of gas-electric hybrid aircraft

Let It Glide 

Challenge Content:

Using the Engineering Design Process, students will develop and build a shoebox glider, and then improve it in terms of aircraft and wing materials, shapes, and structure, to produce the greatest glide slope (the ratio of the distance traveled to the decrease in altitude) possible. To better understand the science behind aerodynamics, students will explore the aspects of flight through three lead-up investigations:

  1. Exploring Glider Design” – Students will assemble a balsa wood glider and explore the functions of its parts by flying it with a part removed or adjusted.
  2. Air Force Three” - Students will conduct three simple investigations to experience the effects of Bernoulli’s principle which states that as air moves faster, it exerts less pressure perpendicular to the direction the air is moving.
  3. Airfoil on a String” - Students will experience how an airplane wing can direct the air above and below it depending on the wing’s angle of attack as an application of Newton’s third law of motion which states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Conducting the Challenge

When they are published, you will find links below to view and download challenge content, including the facilitation guide document, a facilitator presentation, and helpful videos for conducting the challenge and engaging your students.

Image of facilitation guide cover and sample page
Engineering Design Challenge
"Let it Glide"
Facilitation Guide

Full Guide (PDF)

Image of presentation cover and sample slides

Engineering Design Challenge
"Let it Glide"
Facilitator Presentation
Slide Show (PDF)




The Engineering Design Process

Watch / Download

Classroom Management Strategies

Watch / Download

Building the Challenge Test Bed

Watch / Download

Introduction to the Challenge

Watch / Download

Connecting with Subject Matter Experts

Watch / Download

NASA STEM Challenges: Telling Your Story With Video

Watch / Download

Receive EDC Notifications

To receive notifications of new EDC opportunities fill out the form below

Your email address:
Your name (optional):

EDC Contact

For any questions regarding GRC Engineering Design Challenges, please send them to

Page Last Updated: February 5th, 2016
Page Editor: Christopher Hartenstine