National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Engineering Design Challenge: Spacecraft Structures

This Web Seminar took place on February 23, 2012 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The presenter was Jordan Snyder, NASA Explorer Schools Education Specialist at Goddard Space Flight Center. In this Seminar, Mr. Snyder introduced a lesson that engages students in the process of designing their own thrust structures to launch model 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 was the second presentation of the Engineering Design Challenge: Spacecraft Structures program for the 2011-2012 academic year. In the seminar, Mr. Snyder talked about NASA’s work designing lightweight structures that reduce the energy needed to launch vehicles into space. He related this real-world process to a classroom activity that allows students to engineer and test their own designs for thrust structures. Mr. Snyder also showed how to access lesson plans and other resources on the NASA Explorer Schools website.

Forty-two (42) participants were present at the live Web Seminar in addition to the presenter and NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. In addition, two participants joined the presentation from locations outside the United States: Venezuela 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 gives me practical ideas to use in the classroom, facts to add to my lessons, and resource materials for extended lessons.”
  • “Well done - very detailed - easily included in what I teach.”
  • “I will be teaching summer programs to students and the design challenge will be entertaining and educational.”
  • “Can use to extend both astronomy and energy units and use for experimental design practice. Cooperative learning too!”

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

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