Rover Restraint—Mission to Mars

This week, students became NASA engineers as they designed landing gear for their Mars Rovers. Students thought about what challenges there are to landing a rover on Mars.

We then presented students with their mission: landing a raw egg “rover” on the surface of Mars (the floor). Students defined the constraints – limiting factors – of their mission, for example – time, money, and materials. They also identified what would determine the winning group! Ask your student what rules they came up with in their class.

All the teams engineering designs were very creative and, regardless of the outcome, the students all had a “smashing” good time while practicing their teamwork, planning, budgeting, and engineering skills.

Want to learn more about exploring Mars, straight from the rover? Follow Curiosity, the Mars Rover that landed in 2012, on Twitter:

For a Lesson Extension, we recommend trying a “Naked Egg Drop”. Instead of building protection around the egg, students will need to build a cushioned landing for their naked egg. TeachEngineering offers a resource for this activity here:

Misión a Marte

Esta semana, los estudiantes se convirtieron en ingenieros de la NASA, ya que diseñaron el tren de aterrizaje para sus vehículos de exploración marciana (“Mars Rovers”). Los estudiantes analizaron los desafíos que existen para aterrizar un “rover” en Marte.

Luego, se les presentó su misión: aterrizar un huevo crudo (nuestro “rover”) en la superficie de Marte (el suelo). Los estudiantes definieron las limitaciones o factores limitantes de su misión como, por ejemplo, el tiempo, dinero y materiales. ¡También identificaron lo que determinaría el grupo ganador! Pregúntele a su estudiante con qué reglas surgieron en la clase.

Todos los diseños de ingeniería de los equipos fueron muy creativos y, independientemente del resultado, los estudiantes tuvieron un “buen momento” mientras practicaban sus habilidades de trabajo en equipo, planificación, presupuesto e habilidades en ingeniería.

¿Quieres aprender más sobre la exploración de Marte, directamente desde el rover? Sigue a Curiosity, el Mars Rover que aterrizó en 2012, en Twitter:

Para una extensión de esta lección, recomendamos probar la “caída de huevo desnudo”. En vez de crear una protección alrededor del huevo, los estudiantes necesitarán construir una zona de aterrizaje amortiguado para su huevo desnudo. TeachEngineering ofrece un recurso para esta actividad aquí:

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Lauren Koppel

Lauren earned a Bachelor’s degree with a double major of Biology and Psychology from Clark University, and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During her undergraduate years, she worked in a evolutionary neurobiology lab that studied the neural development of annelids (marine worms), with a focus on the sox family of genes. Lauren loves learning about how the world works (including everything from biology to chemistry to engineering), and is passionate about sharing that knowledge and enthusiasm with others. In the past, she has interned at the Museum of Science, where she educated learners of all ages through hands-on activities, games, and experiments. Other science education organizations with which Lauren has worked include The People’s Science, EurekaFest, and Eureka! of Girls Inc. of Worcester. Currently she lives in Boston, where devotes her free time to playing Quidditch, reading sci-fi novels, playing her ukulele, and enjoying all the culinary delights the city has to offer.

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