Just Right

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Grade 6-8 | 3 (45 min) Classes

In this lesson, students will apply an understanding of statistics to the height requirements for astronaut candidacy. They are answering the question, “How can we use mean, median, and mode to analyze and graph Astronaut height data?” Students will analyze the data to identify patterns and deviations from the pattern.


For their assessment students will gather, graph, and analyze height data collected from measuring their classmates to determine the possibility of the students in their class being selected as an astronaut candidate based on height.

Standards

Targeted Performance Expectation(s):

Common Core Standards - Math

CCSS.MATH. CONTENT.6. SP.A.3

Recognize that a measure of center for a numerical data set summarizes all of its values with a single number, while a measure of variation describes how its values vary with a single number.

CCSS.MATH. CONTENT.6. SP.B.4

Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots.

CCSS.MATH. CONTENT.6. SP.B.5. A

Reporting the number of observations.

CCSS.MATH. CONTENT.6. SP.B.5.C

Giving quantitative measures of center (median and/or mean) and variability (interquartile range and/or mean absolute deviation), as well as describing any overall pattern and any striking deviations from the overall pattern with reference to the context in which the data were gathered.

Vocabulary

HABITABLE SPACE

The amount of livable space

MEAN

The average of the data

MEDIAN

The data point that is in the middle when the data is listed in numerical order

MODE

The value or values that occur the most often in a data set

OUTLIER

Data point that differs significantly from other measurements

RANGE

The difference between the greatest and least values

Teacher Background

Astronaut Heights

When NASA announced that applications for the next astronaut class were open for the Astronaut Class of 2021, over 12,000 people applied for the ten available spots! There are strict requirements to apply for candidacy. In addition to being in excellent health, prospective astronauts must meet the following requirements:


● Height between 148.59 cm and 192 cm (4’10” and 6’3”)
● Weigh between 50 and 95 kilograms (110 and 209 pounds)
● Have 20/20 vision or better in each eye, with or without correction


Additionally, the basic requirements include:


● U.S. citizen
● Master’s degree in a STEM field
● Two years of work towards a doctoral program
● Completed medical degree or test pilot program
● At least two years of related professional experience or 1,000 hours flight time

Project Artemis

We are at an exciting time in space exploration. The Artemis program is a human spaceflight program led by NASA to explore the Moon, aiming for its first touchdown to be on the lunar south pole. The first mission in the Artemis program will bring the first woman and person of color to the moon. The Orion Spacecraft is the spacecraft to be used in the Artemis program. It is a partially reusable crewed spacecraft that will carry a crew of six and will launch atop a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The SLS is the successor to the retired Space Shuttle.

Designed to make use of proven rocket technology and existing resources, the NASA SLS uses modified Space Shuttle main engines for its central core stage and Space Shuttle derived solid rockets for the outboard boosters. The NASA SLS Block1 will generate 8.8 million pounds of thrust at lift off. That is enough raw power to carry the Orion crew vehicle, an upper stage booster, and four astronauts all the way to lunar orbit and back. The NASA SLS is designed as a modular system of components, stages, and payloads so it can fulfill multiple roles during Project Artemis. Subsequent Block 1B and Block 2 versions of the NASA SLS will launch landers and cargo to the moon, and later to Mars.

 

As NASA’s missions and spacecraft have changed, the requirements for astronauts have changed in response. The table below lists different spacecraft, their missions, and the habitable area.

Review of Statistics

A strong foundation and understanding of mean, median and mode is an important stepping stone to understanding statistics more deeply.


Mean: The average of the data. To calculate, find the sum of the data and then divide by the number of data points.
Median: The data point that is in the middle when data is listed in numerical order. For an even number of data points, the median is the average of the two middle values.
Mode: The value or values that occur most often in a data set.
Range: The difference between the greatest and least values. It is used to show the spread of the data in a data set. To calculate, subtract the smallest number from the largest number.
Outlier: Data point that differs significantly from other measurements.

Review of Graphing

Graphing is used to represent and summarize data sets in a meaningful way.
The basic components of a graph are:


X axis: Independent variable: what is being changed
Y axis: Dependent variable: what is being counted (or what changes based on the change in independent variable)
Title: Clear and accurate description of the data
Axis Label: Both axes should be labeled and include units of measurement

Types of Graphs

While there are many ways to graph data, this lesson focuses on the following four graphs:

Bar Graph
Circle Graph
Histogram
Line Graph

Bar Graph

Uses vertical or horizontal bars to display numerical information

Used to show numbers in categories

Circle Graph / Pie Chart

Used to compare parts of the data to the whole
Entire circle represents the whole (100%)
Each wedge represents a part of the whole

Histogram

Bar graph that shows the frequency of each item
Used to show distribution and relationships of a single variable over a set of categories

Line Graph

Used to show change over time
Plot a point for each data item, and then connect the dots with straight line segments

Materials

Calculator  (one per student)

Meter Stick  (one per group)

Graphing software such as Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, or graph paper, rulers and pencils  (one per student)

Just Right: Student Portfolio (1 per student)

NASA SLS, Engines, and Launch System (for optional class rocket launch)

Lesson Plan

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Student Portfolio

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Resources

PowerPoint Presentations

Astronaut Explorers Wanted – Slide Presentation

Mean, Median, and Mode – Slide Presentation

Links

Supporting Materials: Interactive Notes

NAR Model Rocket Safety Code

To Print or Not to Print

To Print or Not to Print?

Storyline

Standards

Vocabulary

Teacher Background

Materials

Lesson Plan

Student Journal

Resources

Grade 4-8 | 5-6 (45 min) Classes

In this lesson, students will learn about 3D printing: What it is, how it works, and how it is used in the aerospace industry. After 3D printing the nose cone and fins they choose, they will build and launch the Orbis rocket. They will discuss the pros and cons of using 3D printed pieces for the rocket.

Standards

Targeted Performance Expectation(s):

Common Core Standards - English

CC SS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3

Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

ISTE Standards

1.1 Empowered Learner

Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving, and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.

Vocabulary

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING

The production of a three-dimensional object by depositing materials in layers, also known as 3D printing

EXTRUDE

To force or push out

REGOLITH

The layer of material covering solid rock (planets, moons, and asteroids) and consists of dust, sand, soil and rocks

STEREOLITHOGRAPHY

A type of 3D printing (creates three-dimensional objects layer by layer) that uses a plastic polymer that hardens upon contact with ultraviolet light (laser)

THERMOPLASTICS

A type of plastic that melts when heated and hardens once cooled

Teacher Background

3D Printing Basics

3D printing is the process of taking a digital model and making it a physical model. It is an additive process. The object is built by adding layers of melted material on top of each other. The layers fuse together to create a physical model. 3D printing can be used to print toys, tools , even prosthetic body parts.

 

3D printers use thermoplastics. These are plastics that melt when you heat them and turn solid when you cool them back down. There are two main types:

          ● ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene): a composite of rubber and hard plastic

          ● PLA (polylactic acid): softer, easier to mold, easier to recycle, but less sturdy

 

Not all 3D printers use plastic- some use metal or even chocolate! If the material can easily melt and quickly cool to a solid, it can be used.

3D Printing in the Classroom

3D printing in the classroom is truly exciting! Students can dream and create with 3D printers providing a hands-on experience to give them a better understanding of the engineering design process. Students are active in this process, from conception to creation. When something goes wrong, students can identify the mistakes and then improve on their designs, thus helping them to hone their problem solving and critical thinking skills. 3D printing also helps the kinesthetic and visual learner.

3D Printing in Aerospace

3D printing in aerospace allows the creation of unique parts quickly and cost effectively since the production of these specialty parts is usually very limited. 3D printing can create complex parts that are very light weight and can be easily altered as needed. Additionally, production time may be decreased compared to traditional manufacturing methods.

 

3D printers are even more useful in the space industry where the creation of parts often requires even more specialized tools. If working in space, it could take months for a resupply mission to bring replacement parts. This is not simply inconvenient but could make living / working in space unmanageable. In fact, astronauts on the ISS have had a 3D printer on the space station since 2015.The first 3D printed item was a wrench, but recently they printed a custom-made splint to protect a jammed finger. When a medical emergency happens on the ISS, the astronauts have only the materials on board and the ability to 3D print supplies can help to get them the care they need. Currently, NASA is working on a way to use regolith (the sand and rock on the Moon’s surface) as a 3D printing material and sees the 3D printing of habitats for the Moon in the future.

Materials

Each Student Needs:

Estes Orbis 3D Bulk Pack (STL Files included!)

Estes Rocket Engines (A8-3, B4-4, B6-4, or C6-5)
Pencil
Ruler
Plastic Cement (can share)
Fine Sandpaper (can share)
Hobby Knife (can share)
Masking Tape (can share)

The Class Needs:

Estes 3D Printing Slide Presentation

Estes Lifetime Launch System
3D Printer and associated printer filament
Colored Markers or different colored sticky notes (Enough for a class discussion)

Optional:

Paint/Primer for rocket design (Enough materials for each student)

Camera

Lesson Plan

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Student Journal

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The Race for Space Thumbnail

The Race for Space

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Vocabulary

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Unit Plan

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The Race for Space Banner

Grade 6-8 | 4 (45 min) Classes

In this lesson, students will be introduced to the Space Race. They will conduct independent research to create a timeline of important events in the race to space and beyond. Students will build and launch their own model rocket.

Standards

Targeted Performance Expectation(s):

Common Core Standards - English

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.5

Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.6

Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.1

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.2

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.3

Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.4

Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 6 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

Common Core Standards - Social Studies

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7

Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.8

Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.9

Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.

Vocabulary

COLD WAR

Ideological and political rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union from 1947 – 1991.

SPACE X

A private aerospace company founded by Elon Musk with the mission of reducing space travel costs to allow Mar colonization.

BLUE ORIGIN

A private aerospace company founded by Jeff Bezos with the mission of reducing space travel costs and creating reusable launch vehicles.

MERCURY MISSION

The initial NASA program that resulted in the first American astronauts in space.

GEMINI MISSION

The second NASA program that developed technologies and techniques for the Apollo Mission.

APOLLO MISSION

The NASA program that resulted in the American astronauts to be the first humans to walk on the moon.

Teacher Background

The Race to the Moon

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union (which later becomes Russia) successfully launched the first artificial satellite into orbit in space– Sputnik. Sputnik was a 23-inch metal sphere with 4 radio antennae sending signals from space back to Earth. The creation and launch of Sputnik was a significant achievement for mankind but it incited fear in the United States (U.S.).

 

Twelve years before Sputnik, the United States and its allies (including the Soviet Union) defeated Germany to end World War II. Since then, the United States and the Soviet Union developed a strong ideological and political rivalry which created heightened tensions and resulted in the Cold War. The United States worried that if the Soviet Union could launch a satellite in space, they might have the capability to send a nuclear weapon towards them. The United States wanted to remain technological leaders and did not want to fall behind their rival.

 

The United States government ultimately established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 to create an aeronautics and space program. Mercury missions (1961-1963) were the first missions that ended with the successful launch and return of a man from space. Although the Mercury missions were successful, the Soviet Union had already launched the first human into space – the U.S. remained a step behind. In 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy challenged NASA to land a man on the Moon and return them safely to the Earth before 1970. The next set of missions (Gemini, 1961-1966) developed techniques and technologies that would enable a person to land on the moon. Apollo missions (1969-1972) moved the United States closer to President Kennedy’s goal and on July 20, 1969, the United States stepped foot on the moon.

The Race to Beyond

Since 1969 and the first human steps on the moon, research and exploration into space has continued to grow. The same year the United States were on the moon, the Soviet Union created the first basic space station. Since then, additional space stations were created until the current International Space Station (ISS). Construction on the ISS began in 1998 and it took over 10 years, 30 missions, and 15 countries (including the United States and now Russia) to create the football-field sized station that is orbiting 250 miles above earth with a permanent crew. The ISS is the host to several international research labs from a wide variety of fields such as astronomy, meteorology, and medicine.

 

Aerospace research today is seeking planets beyond Earth’s moon by developing innovative and affordable rocket technology. Private companies outside of NASA have even started to create and launch their own rockets. SpaceX became the first private company to launch astronauts on a reusable rocket in 2020. The following year, Blue Origin was the first company to launch private citizens (not astronauts) into orbit. With costs dropping and excitement for what lies beyond the moon growing, space exploration is becoming bigger than ever. Will Earth’s moon eventually have a colony? Will humans reach Mars? A new era of space exploration is happening now and students have the chance to be a part of it by first learning where it all started.

Materials

Star Hopper (one per student)

Engines (one per rocket)

Launch System (one per 10 students)

Poster paper, markers, pencils, etc.

Star Hopper Model Rocket Build Video (optional)

Unit Plan

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Student Journal

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It's Not Just Rocket Science

It’s Not JUST Rocket Science

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Not Just Rocket Science Banner

Grade 4-7 | 3-4 (45 min) Classes

In this lesson, students will learn about careers available in the aerospace industry and create posters about those careers to present to the class. They will also build and launch the Star Hopper rocket.

Standards

Targeted Performance Expectation(s):

Common Core Standards - English

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.1

Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.5

Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.6

Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.1

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.2

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.3

Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening

Vocabulary

AEROSPACE

The Field of study involving the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space

ENGINEER

A person who uses math and science to invent, design, and build items that solve problems

Teacher Background

How does a Rocket Fly?

Students should be familiar with how a model rocket launches and all safety procedures that should be followed. The safety requirements can be found in the Model Rocket Safety Code of the National Association of Rocketry (NAR).

A Typical Model Rocket Flight

Thrust is the upward force that makes a rocket move off the launch pad. This is a demonstration of Newton’s Third Law of Motion: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The action of the gas escaping through the engine nozzle leads to the reaction of the rocket moving in the opposite direction. The casing of a model rocket engine contains the propellant. At the base of the engine is the nozzle which is made of a heat-resistant, rigid material. The igniter in the rocket engine nozzle is heated by an electric current supplied by a battery-powered launch controller. 

The hot igniter ignites the solid rocket propellant inside the engine which produces gas while it is being consumed. This gas causes pressure inside the rocket engine, which must escape through the nozzle. The gas escapes at a high speed and produces thrust. Located above the propellant is the smoke-tracking and delay element. Once the propellant is used up, the engine’s time delay is activated.

 

The engine’s time delay produces a visible smoke trail used in tracking, but no thrust. The fast-moving rocket now begins to decelerate (slow down) as it coasts upward toward peak altitude (apogee). The rocket slows down due to the pull of gravity and the friction created as it moves through the atmosphere. The effect of this atmospheric friction is called drag. When the rocket has slowed enough, it will stop going up and begin to arc over and head downward. This high point or peak altitude is the apogee. At this point the engine’s time delay is used up and the ejection charge is activated. The ejection charge is above the delay element. It produces hot gases that expand and blow away the cap at the top of the engine. The ejection charge generates a large volume of gas that expands forward and pushes the recovery system (parachute, streamer, helicopter blades) out of the top of the rocket. The recovery system is activated and provides a slow, gentle and soft landing. The rocket can now be prepared for another launch.

 

To summarize, the steps of the Flight Sequence of a Model Rocket are:

  1. Electrically ignited model rocket engines provide rocket liftoff.
  2. Model rocket accelerates and gains altitude.
  3. Engine burns out and the rocket continues to climb during the coast phase.
  4. Engine generates tracking smoke during the delay/coast phase.
  5. Rocket reaches peak altitude (apogee). Model rocket ejection charge activates the recovery system.
  6. Recovery systems are deployed. Parachutes and streamers are the most popular recovery systems used.
  7. Rocket returns to Earth.
  8. Rocket touchdown! Replace the engine, igniter, igniter plug and recovery wadding. Rocket is ready to launch again!

Materials

Star Hopper (one per student)

Engines (one per rocket)

Launch System (one per 10 students)

Poster paper, markers, pencils, etc.

Star Hopper Model Rocket Build Video (optional)

Unit Plan

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Student Journal

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