National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Engineering Design Challenge: Thermal Protection System

This Web Seminar took place on February 6, 2012 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The presenter was Kristy Hill, NASA Explorer Schools Specialist at Marshall Space Flight Center. In this Seminar, Ms. Hill discussed a lesson that challenges students to design and build a thermal protection system for a mock rocket. She also shared videos that showed teachers putting the lesson into action with students.

The PowerPoint, related resources from the NSTA Learning Center, and web links from the presentation are now contained in the above resource collection. Clicking on the collection link will place it in your Learning Center, My Library, neatly organized under the My Resource Collections tab.


This is the third presentation of the Engineering Design Challenge: Thermal Protection System program. In the seminar, Ms. Hill gave detailed information on activities that engage students with the concepts of thermal conductivity and heat capacity. She connected this design challenge to NASA’s work with actual spacecraft. Ms. Hill also shared instructions for accessing lesson plans and support materials, as well as information on NASA Explorer Schools.


Thirty-one (31) participants were present at the live Web Seminar in addition to the presenter and NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. In addition, four participants joined the program from locations outside of the United States: Germany, Romania, Turkey, and Venezuela.


Seminar participants received one of the NSTA SciGuides. A certificate of attendance was deposited into participants' My PD Record and Certificates area in the NSTA Learning Center for completing the evaluation form at the end of the program.


Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:

  • “This was very informative and gave me ideas for the rocket unit that I am currently working on.”
  • “Heat transfer is a big part of our curriculum and any way that we as teachers can present the information in an inquiry format, the better it is for the students.”
  • “Just started teaching an applied sciences course and small projects like this are great to push the idea of how important the design phase can be.”
  • “Just started teaching an applied sciences course and small projects like this are great to push the idea of how important the design phase can be.”

Thanks to the participants and the presenter for the learning opportunity, the interactions, and a job well done!


See when other NASA Explorer Schools Web Seminars are Scheduled




For more information contact webseminars@nsta.org


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