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Educational Level:
Middle school  
Learning Time:
2 to 4 hours  
SMD Forum - Primary:
Planetary Science  
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The MISSIONMaker program uses art and the making experience to investigate NASA mission design, engineering and space exploration. Using common materials, students build a rover that incorporates six simple machines. The building instructions... (View More)

This multi-phased learning package progresses from guided engineering to an open mission-design challenge. Each step is scaffolded and includes easy-to-implement teaching tools, lessons and art activities. Learners, working in collaborative teams,... (View More)

This lesson plan uses the 5E learning cycle and is designed around an essential question: How do I know when I’ve found important information in my reading? Learning objectives include: identify important details in informational texts; learn and... (View More)

Keywords: Language arts

This lesson plan uses the 5E learning cycle and is designed around an essential question: Why is the method you chose for landing your Rover on Mars the best one for your mission? The lesson objectives include: examine different methods for landing... (View More)

Learners will construct a mock-up of planetary surface rover. They begin by exploring the importance of engineering in our society and work as a team to build a prototype of the team's rover using student science notebooks and team sketches as a... (View More)

Keywords: Spacecraft Design
Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: $5 - $10 per group of students

Learners will play a card game to design a mission to Mars. This game will allow them to experience the fundamentals of the engineering design process as they use collaboration and problem-solving skills to develop a mission that meets constraints... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a lesson about using evidence to construct sequences of geologic events. Learners will interpret real NASA science data to identify features on the surface of Mars, determine the surface history of the area, calculate the size of features,... (View More)

Learners will investigate probes and rovers to learn how they are built, learn about the propulsion, navigation, controls and daily handling of spacecraft, gather, and analyze data from multiple sources on the internet, and understand how rovers... (View More)

Learners will construct two different types of trusses to develop an understanding of engineering design for truss structures and the role of shapes in the strength of structures. For optimum completion - this activity should span 3 class periods to... (View More)

This is a lesson about planetary atmospheres. Learners will interpret real spectral graphs from missions to determine what some of Earth, Venus, and Mars’ atmosphere is composed of and then mathematically compare the amount of the greenhouse gas,... (View More)

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