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

This Web Seminar took place on May 15, 2012 from 8:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Eastern Time. The presenter was Kristy Hill, NASA Explorer Schools Education Specialist at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. In this Seminar, Ms. Hill shared strategies for implementing a hands-on activity that allows students to design and test their own thermal protection system for a model rocket.

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 was the fourth and final presentation of Engineering Design Challenge: Thermal Protection System for the 2011-2012 school year. Ms. Hill introduced participants to a lesson that teaches middle school and high school students about thermal conductivity and heat capacity. She linked the lesson to NASA’s work designing heat shields for spacecraft. Seminar attendees received an in-depth look at the lesson and discussed possible extensions and modifications to fit their students’ needs. Ms. Hill also shared details about the NASA Explorer Schools program.

Twenty-eight (28) participants were present at the live Web Seminar in addition to the presenter and NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of Arizona, California, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Three people joined the program from countries outside of the United States: Bermuda, Germany, 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:

  • “Awesome! Just makes the engineering portion of STEM so much easier when working with materials that have already been proven successful... and safe.”
  • “This is a great engineering challenge that makes students apply their knowledge about heat transfer.”
  • “Visuals along with audio directions were excellent in helping motivate me to present a lesson on TPS to my jr. high students.”
  • “This is a very interesting lesson that can be taught immediately in my class.”

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

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