Skip to main content
Close
Menu

NASA’s BEST Students: Grades 6-8

Launch Your CEV

Engineer a reusable launcher for a CEV.

Middle school learners will be guided through a series of challenges that follow the engineering design cycle. Join NASA on an adeventure through solving an engineering challenge to create a reusable launcher to send humans to the moon.

OBJECTIVE
To demonstrate an understanding of the Engineering Design Process while utilizing each stage to successfully complete a team challenge.

DESIGN CHALLENGE

To design and test a Reusable Launcher for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). The CEV should travel 5 meters when launched.

PROCESS SKILLS
Measuring, calculating, designing, evaluating

MATERIALS

  • Model CEV that was built last session
  • General building supplies
  • Meter stick or measuring tape
  • C-clamps
  • Rubber bands of various sizes and thickness

STUDENT PAGES

  • Design Challenge
  • Ask, Imagine and Plan
  • Experiment and Record
  • Quality Assurance Form
  • Fun with Engineering at Home

MOTIVATE

SET THE STAGE

ASK, IMAGINE, & PLAN

Share the Design Challenge with the students.

  • Emphasize that the objective is to create a launcher producing repeatable results. It is more important for the CEV to reach the same distance each time than for the CEV to travel the farthest.
  • Remind students to imagine a solution and draw their ideas. All drawings should be approved before building.

CREATE

  • Challenge the students to build a Reusable Launcher based on their designs and ideas.

EXPERIMENT

  • Students will test different rubber bands and different distances the rubber band is pulled back. One rubber band is used per experiment, but tested at three different “pull lengths”. All data is recorded in the data table.
  • Students should graph the CEV distance results as a line graph and analyze. Feel free to share the BEST graphing video with your students as a refresher on how to build a graph: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?10515

IMPROVE

  • Students improve the Reusable Launcher based on results of the tests.

CHALLENGE CLOSURE

Engage the students with the following questions:

  • Why was it important that the launcher be reusable?
  • Why was it important that your results were repeatable?

PREVIEWING NEXT SET OF ACTIVITIES (SERIES 3)

The Moon is a very harsh environment. There is no atmosphere to protect astronauts and their equipment from solar radiation and the extreme temperature swings between night and day. Next session, we will begin to find ways to protect astronauts from those extreme temperature changes.