Target Audience
  • Students
Hosting Center(s)
  • Goddard Space Flight Center
Subject Category
  • Earth Science
  • Physical Science
Unit Correlation
  • Exploring NASA Missions
  • Exploring Engineering and Technology
  • Exploring Space
Grade Level
  • K-04
  • 05-08
  • 09-12
Minimum Delivery Time
  • 030 min(s)
Maximum Connection Time
  • 050 min(s)

Event Focus

Robots can be found in factories, in homes, and even in movies. But, they also help with space exploration. How are robots an important part of space exploration?




This module is appropriate for video conference AND web conference.


During this event, students will learn how NASA uses robotics technology to a great extent in its exploration of space. Participants will learn how NASA defines robotics, see how robotic systems are already widely used in the space program, and discover what plans there are for future robotic applications. Students will also have the opportunity to share their activity results with the NASA Education Specialist.


Instructional Objectives






The learner will share prior knowledge about robots, their use in popular culture (literature and movies) and how they are used in the real world on Earth and in space exploration.




The learner will identify and discuss how robots work, define basic vocabulary of their movements and components and understand their role in space exploration.



The learner will investigate the various robots used by NASA in space exploration, and why robotic exploration is important to human space flight.



The learner will apply their knowledge of how robots are used in space exploration to broaden their understanding of the possibilities for new career opportunities and the education required in the field of robotics.


The learner will demonstrate their understanding of robotics by completing a post-activity assessment and comparing their results from their pre-activity assessment.



Sequence of Events


Pre-Conference Activities


The links below are previews of the activities only. For the complete module and event information, please see the Complete Educator Guide link for each grade level.


Grade K-4


"Robots in Action" Activity:

Students will create, illustrate, and write about how robots could be used in a student's daily life.


"Think Like a Robot" Activity:

Students will demonstrate how hard it is to accurately guide a robot through simple tasks.

  K-4 Spacebots Activity Information            

  K-4 Spacebots Complete Educator Guide            


Grade 5-8


"Robotic Arm" Activity:

Students will learn how the end effectors for the robotic arms used on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station work. Students will design and construct a grapple fixture that will enable the end effector to pick up an object.


"Can a Robot Tie Your Shoes?" Activity:

This activity is designed to help analyze a simple, everyday task from the point of view of a robot.


"Design a Microrover for the Moon" Activity:

Students will design a microrover spacecraft for exploring the Moon's South Pole region.

    5-8 Spacebots Activity Information            

    5-8 Spacebots Complete Educator Guide            


Grade 9-12


"Robotic Arm" Activity:

Students will develop a robotic arm and an end effector to interact with the environment.


"Robotic Maze" Activity:

Students will design and build their own rovers, explaining what type of instrumentation they would include and why it is necessary.

  9-12 Spacebots Activity Information            

  9-12 Spacebots Complete Educator Guide            



Videoconference Activities


During the videoconference, students will interact with a NASA Education Specialist and present their classroom projects on robots.


Post-Conference Activities


Upon teacher's discretion, students are encouraged to explore the recommended extended activities listed in the Educator Guide for further study on the topics learned in the videoconference.


For more information on NASA Robotics:








The following standards are abbreviated for the 5-8 module. Due to the longevitiy of standard descriptions, expected student behaviors are listed in the Educator Guide. Standards and expected student behaviors for grades K-4 and 9-12 can be found in the appropriate Educator Guide.


Science Standards (NSES)


Science and Technology

Abilities of Technological Design

History and Nature of Science

Science as a Human Endeavor

Historical Perspectives


Technology Education Standards


Students will develop an understanding of the attributes of design

Students will develop an understanding of engineering design


Mathematics Standards


Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement. Apply appropriate techniques. Tools, and formulas to determine measurements.



Recognize and use connections among mathematical ideas. Understand how mathematical ideas interconnect and build on one another to produce a coherent whole. Recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics


Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)



• 3.E

• 5.A,B,C


Social Studies

• 29.A



• 15.A

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Page Last Updated: November 5th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator