Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What a feat for JPL, NASA, and Curiosity!

I've been so jealous that my husband, through Arizona State University, got to go to JPL in Pasadena this past weekend and join in the science festivities as they prepared for the landing of Curiosity.  The good news is that he brought me back all sorts of goodies, including labs.  You can get some of these on the ASU website.  They are well done and a wealth of information. I plan on using all of these goodies at the end of 1st quarter with my 7th graders.  It is a nice bridge between our unit on astronomy and 2nd quarter's unit on geology.

Today for the excite activity, I took and modified one of the PBS Design Squad activities.  Students were given a Play-do container and told that this was their rover.  They had to drop it from the top of the lab table and have it land without falling over.  They were also given 4 large index cards, 2 pencils, tape and 2 rubber bands.  With only 10 minutes to work, students diligently create, tried, refined, and tried again.  Once they were done, I listed some of the many other things that the scientists needed to take into account when designing the rover: weight, speed, timing, drag, dust, rockets, bungee cords, etc.  Next Monday, the gifted classes club on design begins with tasks just like this.  They have so much for teachers and students alike!


Life in Middle School said...

Awesome that your husband got to go! I tried to get my 8th grade terrors last year interested in the Mars Rover and no luck!

Life In Middle School

Caught in the Middle said...

My gifted kiddos eat this stuff up! Today one of the students in my class brought in a computer simulation of the first rover taking off and landing on Mars. Her grandfather works at General Dynamic and they worked on the first one. We didn't get done what I had planned because of all the questions and discussions that followed.

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