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NASA’s BEST Students: K – Grade 2

Build a Satellite to Orbit the Moon

Use the engineering design process to build a satellite that can orbit the moon.

K-2 Learners will be guided through a series of challenges that follow the engineering design cycle. Join NASA on an adventure through solving an engineering challenge to design and build a satellite to orbit the moon using simple materials.

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 build a satellite that will orbit the moon. It must carry a combination of cameras, gravity probes, and heat sensors to investigate the Moon’s surface. The satellite will need to pass a 1-meter Drop Test without any parts falling off of it.

PROCESS SKILLS
Measuring, designing, evaluating

MATERIALS

  • General building supplies
  • Bag of various sized buttons

STUDENT PAGES

  • Design Challenge
  • Ask, Imagine and Plan
  • Experiment and Record

 

MOTIVATE

  • Spend a few minutes asking students if they know what engineers do, then show the NASA’s BEST Students video titled, “Engineering”:
  • Using the Engineering Design Process (EDP) graphic on the previous page, discuss the EDP with your students
    • Ask a question first about the goal.
    • Imagine a possible solution.
    • Plan out a design and draw your ideas.
    • Create and construct a working model.
    • Experiment and test that model.
    • Improve and try to revise that model.

SET THE STAGE

  • Share the Design Challenge orally with the students (see next page).
  • As a group, have students ask questions about the Challenge and brainstorm ideas. Then have students break into teams to create a drawing of a satellite. All drawings should be approved before building begins.

CREATE

  • Distribute materials for students to build their satellites based on their designs and specifications.

EXPERIMENT

  • Teams should make observations of the satellite drop and record them in the data tables of their worksheet or report orally to a group leader.

IMPROVE

  • Have students inspect their satellite and rework their design if needed.

CHALLENGE CLOSURE

Engage the students in a discussion with the following questions:

  • List two things you learned about what engineers do through building your satellite today.
  • What was the greatest difficulty you encountered while trying to complete this challenge? How did you solve this problem?

PREVIEWING NEXT SESSION

Ask teams to bring back their satellite model for use at the next session. You may want to store them in the classroom or have one of the club facilitators be responsible for their safe return.