NASA Summer of Innovation

3.2.1. Liftoff Educator Guide

NASA Summer of Innovation SOI

online, simulators

  • The Beginner’s Guide to Aeronautics – 12 topics – simulations, guides, lessons – Keywords: Newton’s Laws of Motion, forces of flight, lift, drag, thrust, engineering design process, kites – some too advanced
  • Getting Off the Ground into the “Smart Skies”! – ATC simulation
  • NASA Simulations, .pdf – use NASA web-based simulators to follow sequenced directions and complete ordered tasks while learning how the shuttle is made ready for flight, how the shuttle docks with the International Space Station, how the shuttle lands, and how NASA retrieves the solid rocket boosters.
    Keywords: simulations, computer simulations, computer-based


  • Heavy lifter lesson, resources – Design and build a crane out of cardboard. Determine methods to reinforce the crane’s arms so it doesn’t collapse under a heavy load. Build a crank handle
    Keywords: engineering, design process, rovers, entry, descent, landing
  • Crew Exploration Vehicle Students design and build a crew exploration vehicle, or CEV, that will carry two cm-sized passengers safely and will fit within a certain volume (size limitation).
    Keywords: engineering, design process, rovers, entry, descent, landing
  • Landing a Rover Teams’ challenge is to design and build a model of a lunar transport rover that will carry equipment and people on the surface of the moon.
    Keywords: exploration, engineering, design process, rovers, planet surface, energy, force, momentum
  • Moon Rovers,.pdf – design and build a rubber band-powered rover that can scramble across the room.
    Keywords: exploration, engineering, design process, rovers, energy, force, momentum
  • Spaghetti tower – Spaghetti Anyone? – Building with Pasta – Use the engineering design process to build a structure to handle the greatest load. Gain first-hand experience with compression and tension forces. Spaghetti Anyone? .pdf

reviewed, not suitable

other resources

  • Future Flight included K-4 activities – videos, hands-on activities
  • NASA videos– good activities from a variety of sources, some instructions for kids

Learn more…