Event Catalog

Engineering Aircraft : From Flying Wings to Flying Saucers?

Target Audience
  • Students
Hosting Center(s)
  • Ames Research Center
Subject Category
  • Physical Science
Unit Correlation
  • Exploring Engineering and Technology
Grade Level
  • 5-8
  • K-4
Minimum Delivery Time
  • 030 min(s)
Maximum Connection Time
  • 060 min(s)
Event Focus

What are the basic engineering and aeronautics principles associated with NASA aircraft.


Description This DLN moudle will Introduce students to NASA aeronautics.  The presenter will familiarize students with the 4 tools of aeronautics. Students learn about how NASA develops new aircraft concepts through research and testing as its aerospace engineers turn concepts into reality.
Instructional Objectives



Learners  view a Demonstration of the Aerobat flying saucer model and discuss the flying wing concept.


Learners review the history of the the flying wing and how new aviation concepts are developed through research and testing.


Learners differintiate the 4 tools of aeronautics and give examples of each.


Learners construct the Aerobat flying saucer  and discuss how new concepts need to be reviewed and tested using the scientific method.


Learners participate in a review of several student designs and suggest ways of improving their flight.


Sequence of Events

Pre-Conference Activities

Teachers should build the required model as a template and have it on display prior to the construction phase during the video conference flying saucer activity.

Instructions for the model: http://dln.nasa.gov/media/storage/GeobatInstructions.jpg  

Template for the mode: http://dln.nasa.gov/media/storage/GeobatTemplate.jpg  

Please make sure each group of 2 students has the following materials:

  • 1 Template copied on card stock
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape
  • Pennies - 
Videoconference Activities
1.  Students are introduced to how NASA research improves aircraft . 2. Students par presented with a brief history of the flying wing program. 3. Students learn about the 4 Tools of Aeronautics (from CD video clips) . 4. Student construct Aerobat Flying Saucer and test as time permits.
Post-Conference Activities
Teachers give students a chance to test their models as appropriate; teachers can request the NASA aeronautics-related CD for further exploration and study.





The student knows and applies the skills, processes, and nature of scientific inquiry.         a. Investigating Systems: Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to do scientific inquiry.        b. Nature of Science: Understand the nature of scientific inquiry.



The student knows and applies science concepts and skills to develop solutions to human problems in societal contexts.        a. Designing Solutions: Apply knowledge and skills of science and technology to design solutions to human problems or meet challenges.        b. Science, Technology, and Society: Analyze how science and technology are human endeavors, interrelated to each other, society, the workplace, and the environment.