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Topics/Subjects:
The design process  
Educational Level:
Middle school  
Instructional Strategies:
Hands-on learning  
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Learners design and build an airbag system that can safely land an egg dropped from a height of 3' onto the floor. This resource includes a challenge video, leader notes, and handouts. Two supplemental videos are included: 1) An airbag landing... (View More)

Learners design and build a device that can take a core sample from a potato. This resource includes a challenge video, leader notes, and handouts. Two supplemental videos are included: 1) NASA's Curiosity rover drilling into a rock on Mars and... (View More)

In this hands-on engineering challenge, learners design, build, and improve a model that allows a moving object to change direction using an invisible force. Mimicking the gravity-assisted travel of the New Horizons spacecraft, learners roll a steel... (View More)

Learners design and build a device that can pass above a surface and detect magnetic fields. This resource includes a challenge video, leader notes, and handouts. Two supplemental videos are included: 1) Measuring Magnetic Fields and 2) NASA flight... (View More)

Learners design and build a robotic arm that can lift a cup off a table. This resource includes a challenge video, leader notes, and handouts. Two supplemental videos are also included: 1) NASA's Curiosity rover using its robotic arm to probe the... (View More)

NuSTAR has a 10-meter rigid mast that separates the optics from the detector. Inspired by this, students will design, test, and build a lightweight mast 1 meter tall that can fully support the weight of a typical hardcover textbook (~2 kg). The... (View More)

Students combine science and systems engineering to develop a mission to search for life in our solar system. The mission must meet budgetary, mass and power constraints while still producing significant science. An extensive set of "equipment... (View More)

In this game, students use the accompanying "playing cards" to plan a mission to Mars. The mission must produce significant science returns while also meeting several constraints such as budget, mass and power. The lesson is part of the Mars... (View More)

This is an activity about using models to solve a problem. Learners will build four models of the MMS satellites using fabrication software. Their designs will based upon observations and data collected through prior activities (in the educator's... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

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
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