National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Engineering Design Challenge: Spacecraft Structures

This Web Seminar took place on October 17, 2011, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Presenting was Kristy Hill, an education specialist at Marshall Space Flight Center. In this Seminar, Ms. Hill talked about the activities and lessons related to the Design Challenge Teacher’s guide. She also gave some background on thrust structures used in the NASA rockets.

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 first presentation of Engineering Design Challenge: Spacecraft Structures program and it will be repeated during this academic year. Ms. Hill showed the participants a number of videos that showcased what the activity looks like in the classroom as well as ones of a descriptive nature. The audience was given a thorough look at the student activity for the design challenge including the materials and examples of the student handouts.

Forty-one (41) participants were present at the live Web Seminar in addition to the presenter and NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. In addition, two participants joined the program from outside the United States: Nicaragua and Turkey.

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 activity is an excellent opportunity to involve students in the process of designing, building, and testing in the manner an engineer would.”
  • “I can use this as an extension activity for my students for my Design standard or as a physical science activity. My thought is to use it for a science fair challenge.”
  • “I teach Physical Science and two f the thematic units are physics and life on Earth vs. Mars; some parts of this lessons are very applicable”
  • “This webinar inspired me to do more design/construction activities with my students--they love hands-on!”

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

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