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Lesson Title: Moon Rovers
May 11, 2012

Unit: Engineering - Exploration

Grade Levels: 7-9

Connection To Curriculum: Newton's Second Law, Friction, Potential and Kinetic Energy

Teacher Prep Time: 15-30 minutes

Lesson Time Needed: 1 hour

Complexity Basic

Keywords: exploration, engineering, design process, rovers, energy, force, momentum


Per Rover
Corrugated cardboard body (6-inch/15-cm square)
2 corrugated cardboard wheels (5-inch/13-cm square)
1 sharpened round pencil
2 rubberbands
2 round candies (the hard white mint ones with a hole in the middle)
1 plastic drinking straw

Students will design and build a rubber band-powered rover that can scramble across the room.

Students will:
• Design and build a rover out of cardboard.
• Figure out how to use rubber bands to spin the wheels.
• Improve their designed system based on testing results.

First page of Moon Rovers

Lesson Guide
Moon Rovers Lesson
[315KB PDF file]



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Lesson Activities and Sequence
The On the Moon Educator Guide contains the following engineering activities:

  1. Introduce the challenge: Tell kids how NASA astronauts will need moon cars called rovers to drive across the moon's surface, carry supplies, help build their outpost and explore the area (scripted in the Leader Notes).
  2. Brainstorm and design: Students should be working in cooperative groups to develop a group design and using individual journals to record their decisions, design sketches, test results, etc.
  3. Build, test, evaluate and redesign: Test data, solutions, modifications, etc., should all be recorded in their journals individually.
  4. Discuss what happened: Ask the students to show each other their rovers and talk about how they solved any problems that came up.
  5. Evaluation: Using the students' journals, assess their mastery of content, skills and the engineering design process.

Keywords: exploration, engineering, design process, rovers, energy, force, momentum

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Science as Inquiry
• Understanding of scientific concepts.
• Understanding of the nature of science.
• Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.
• Dispositions to use the skills, abilities and attitudes associated with science.

Physical Science
• Motions and forces.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, NCTM
Expressions and Equations
• Solve real-life and mathematical problems using numerical and algebraic expressions and equations.

ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Students, ISTE
Creativity and Innovation
• Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products or processes.
• Create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
• Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
• Identify trends and forecast possibilities.

Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
• Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
• Plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
• Collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
• Use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.


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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator