National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Distance Rate Time Problems: Smart Skies

This web seminar for educators of students in grades 4–6 featured an engaging activity called “Smart Skies.” In this activity, students explored the mathematics involved in the role of an air traffic controller. The challenge was to use mathematical reasoning and distance, rate, and time concepts to change airplane routes and speeds to line up three airplanes safely and with proper spacing at a given intersection. Web seminar participants received an overview of the “Smart Skies” activity and discussed ways to modify it to include the engineering design process.


This web seminar is part of a series of electronic professional development experiences sponsored by the NASA Explorer Schools (NES) project. NASA Explorer Schools invests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics educators to inspire and engage a whole generation of future scientists, engineers and technicians that NASA needs to continue our journey. NES gives educators of grades 4-12 free access to NASA's people, missions, research, and facilities. We take the work out of searching through thousands of materials on the NASA website and provide a comprehensive set of teaching materials for dozens of STEM concepts. For additional information about the NASA Explorer Schools project, visit

See when other NASA Explorer Schools web seminars are scheduled.

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