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The design process  
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This is an activity about satellite design. Learners will create a satellite model to determine which shape will provide a steady minimum current output from solar panels, given a fixed position light source. After, as a group, they will assess... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

In this activity, students face an engineering challenge based on real-world applications. They are tasked with developing a tool they can use to measure the amount of rain that falls each day. Students will find out why freshwater is important,... (View More)

This is an activity about using models to solve a problem. Learners will use a previously constructed model of the MMS satellite to determine if the centrifugal force of the rotating MMS model is sufficient to push the satellite's antennae outward,... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

This is a lesson about the solar wind, Earth's magnetosphere, and the Moon. Participants will work in groups of two or three to build a model of the Sun-Earth-Moon system. They will use the model to demonstrate that the Earth is protected from... (View More)

Learners will become familiar with and use the engineering design process to sketch a reasonable drawing of the rover that will be built. The lesson uses the 5E instructional model and includes: TEKS Details (Texas Standards alignment), Essential... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a math-science integrated unit about spectrographs. Learners will find and calculate the angle that light is transmitted through a holographic diffraction grating using trigonometry. After finding this angle, the students will build their... (View More)

Audience: High school

In this lesson, students will explain CRaTER's purpose and how it works. They will also design (using paper and pencil) a cosmic ray detector to answer their own questions. CRaTER's purpose is to identify safe landing sites for future human missions... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

Learners will build an open spectrograph to calculate the angle the light is transmitted through a holographic diffraction grating. After finding the desired angles, the students will design their own spectrograph using the information learned. The... (View More)

This is a lesson about the role of computers in space exploration. Learners will investigate various ways to improve mission design to maximize the scientific return. In the first activity, the students examine how the use of flowcharts can help... (View More)

Audience: High school

This is a lesson about how spacecraft use gravity assists to get where they are going. Learners will explore how engineers minimize the use of fuel by utilizing gravity. In Activity 1, students explore the physical conservation laws by observing the... (View More)

Audience: High school