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NASA: Moving Cargo – Transportation

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The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship approaches the space station



Grade Levels

Grades 9-12


Space Science, Solar System and Planets


Educator Guides, Lesson Plans / Activities

In this standards-based unit, students will become familiar with NASA’s plan for human space exploration, the Ares I and Ares V rockets, and how NASA uses intermodal means of transportation to ensure mission success. Students will also learn the basic operating system behind the launch vehicles and the testing procedures to ensure the vehicles will operate as designed. The following are some of the objectives of the 5E (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate/Extend, Evaluate) lessons in this unit:

  • To explain that transportation plays a vital role in the operation of other technologies, such as manufacturing, construction, communications, health and safety.
  • To create a three-minute video that simulates the NASA transportation cycle.
  • To design and build a transportation vehicle capable of safely carrying cargo a distance of three feet in the shortest amount of time.

At the conclusion of the unit, students plan, organize and control the integration of three means of transportation vehicles to move a cargo container through water, land and air within the shortest amount of time. Student sheets are included.
NASA: Moving Cargo – Transportation [3MB PDF file]
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