Engage your students with a series of dynamic lessons, geared to prepare them for the missions they’ll experience during a visit to a Challenger Learning Center. In addition to creating excitement for your upcoming visit, these lessons will help reinforce skills and STEM principles that are valuable to your students.
In order to prepare our students to think like the engineers of tomorrow, we need to challenge them with unique, creative design challenges that spark imagination and provide opportunities for brainstorming and rapid design iteration. In the Earth to Mars Design Challenge, students will discuss and display knowledge of engineering design, basic needs for a Martian habitat, and creative habitat structure design for use on Mars.
Had events happened differently, and the Challenger crew’s mission been completed, it would have brought Christa McAuliffe’s science lessons to children around the world. However, the lessons, prepared for the nation and the world’s children, were never officially performed. Educators can use these activities and videos of Christa and the team to replicate the lessons that were never shared from orbit.
For grades 6-8: These lessons highlight skills found and utilized within various aviation careers. These lessons include Fundamental Forces of Flight, Bernoulli’s Principle, Paper Airplane Design Challenge and Aviation Career Day. Each lesson is directly linked to a video from the ISTAT Foundation Careers in Aviation video series.
This action-packed science fiction trilogy, written by June Scobee Rodgers, founder of Challenger Center and New York Times bestselling authors Rebecca Moesta and Kevin J. Anderson, details the adventures of a group of young people using a Challenger Learning Center as a springboard for adventure-filled journeys into the future. Real life science is woven throughout the action in each book, so readers will learn basics of space science as they get caught up in the action.
In this activity, student teams will design, sketch, and build a model of a robot of their choice. Their robot will have a specific mission, and they must design the model in a way that supports the goals of their mission. When completed, the team will present their model to the class.
In groups or as individuals, students will use their knowledge of the current Martian climate and of the basic conditions necessary for life to develop a model of a nano‐critter able to survive the harsh environment of Mars.
Students will draw space shuttles on graph paper using x- and y-coordinates.
Students will create a new constellation as well as the myth that goes along with it.
In this lesson, students craft a meteor impact to demonstrate the possible change in surface area and resulting spray of the meteor. The resulting model provides explanation and understanding of meteor impacts in space. The process of setting up and conducting experiments provides students with application of scientific inquiry.
Students will learn the current theory of the geology of the moon’s layers. Using this information, students will construct a scale model of the moon’s layers and cut a cross section to identify the layers.
The students will perform experiments investigating an object’s actual size compared to its apparent size, involving distance and perspective. The students will use the knowledge gained from these experiments to explain why a total solar eclipse and an annular eclipse appear the way they do from Earth.
The Moon is the only location in our Solar System that astronauts have set foot on. Of the many astronauts NASA has employed, only 12 astronauts were gathered and retrieved samples of the Moon and returned them to Earth. This lesson allows students to mine for M&Ms as a comparison to the astronauts mining for Moon samples. Students will have to use math skills to determine if their mine was profitable.
Students locate and plot Apollo Moon Missions and learn about a variety of lunar surface features by plotting and planning a moon trip that will visit designated lunar sites.
Students will become NEO (near-Earth object) hunters in this math and space science review game.
In this activity students will plan meals needed for a voyage to Mars. They will decide on what types of meals to prepare based on their weight, nutritional content and ease to prepare.
This lesson introduces geometric elliptical concepts to students. They are tasked with using their math knowledge to create their own ellipses and relate those ellipses to different orbital models.
A Gravity Well is a pliable vinyl surface where balls of different sizes and masses are rolled around to visually demonstrate some of the properties of orbiting bodies, forces and motion in our solar system and beyond.
Students apply the principle of triangulation by using GPS receivers in the field. This is accomplished by participating in a simulation similar to the TV series, LOST! The students will engage in a GPS scavenger hunt at a nearby park. Teams will attempt to locate a first aid kit to assist an ʺinjuredʺ teammate by locating waypoint flags with their GPS receivers.
Through the use of an Anticipatory Set or Hook (“Do Now”) students will be introduced to the nuance and complexity of the issue of whether or not the ends can be justified by the means. The students will then read the short biographies of the two scientists, Mr. X and Mr. Y, and make a judgment as to whether the scientists should be regarded as heroes or villains. The students will then visit various websites in order to ascertain additional information about the two men, and be asked to make refinements to their original judgments concerning the two scientists. The students will discover that Mr. X and Mr. Y are the same individual, Dr. Wernher Von Braun
Students will research and report on careers at NASA other
than that of an astronaut.
We invite students, educators and alumni who have visited one of our centers to share their experience with us, so that we can continue to develop programs that are engaging and educational.
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