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Purdue Space Day 2020 Activities

Below are the activities planned with recommended material lists for Purdue Space Day 2020. 


Grades 3 and 4

(Grade 3 - 4 YouTube link is here)

 

Activity 1.1:  Mission Logistics

Have you ever wanted to travel to the Moon?  Have you ever wondered what goes into planning a mission to the Moon?  You and your team will design a "mission" to the Moon.  Just like the NASA mission designers, you will have a "catalog" of mission hardware from which you can choose.  And, just like the NASA mission designers, you will have budgets for mass, power, and cost that you must keep in balance.

Activity Materials:

Activity Handouts

 

Activity 2.1:  Lunar Habitat Design

NASA is sending astronauts back to the Moon!  In 2024, NASA plans to send a crew to land on the moon, and build a lunar outpost for permanent human presence on the Moon in 2028.  Lots of engineering and desing will go into building this habitat.  When the astronauts get there, they may have to deal with moonquakes!  Scientific instruments left on the Moon in 1969 and 1972 recorded seismic quakes up to 5.5 in magnitude with some lasting longer than 10 minutes.  That's enough force to move heavy furniture around and crack weak walls!

Activity Materials:

  • Mini marshmallows (30)
  • Toothpicks (30)
  • Sheet of paper (copy, notebook, etc.)

Optional Materials:

  • Pan of Jello prepared in advance (used to simulate a moonquake during testing)

Activity Handouts:

 

Activity 3.1:  Recovery System

Getting astronauts from space is hard. In the past, NASA has relied on water landings called splashdowns to get astronaut crews back from space safely. Your mission is to design, build, and test a crew exploration vehicle or CEV to safely return astronauts to Earth. Your CEV will need to land in water, float, and keep water out. You will test your small-scale model by dropping it into a home water source like a plastic tub, sink, or bathtub. Don't let your crew drown!

Activity Materials:

  • Cardboard (shipping box)
  • Styrofoam cup (1)
  • Plastic grocery bag
  • Straws (4)
  • Foam sheet (1)
  • String (3 yds)
  • Plastic zipper bags (2)
  • Astronaut cut-out
  • Tape (masking or other type)
  • Scissors
  • Paper (copy, notebook, etc.)

Optional Materials:

  • Water source (bucket, sink, tub)
  • Towel (to dry the CEV and for clean up)
  • Plastic grocery bags (for additional parachutes)

Activity Handouts

 

Grades 5 and 6

(Grade 5 - 6 YouTube link is here)

 

Activity 1.2:  Landing Site

We know quite a bit about the Moon. Data from previous spacecraft missions, lunar soil samples, and information returned by the Apollo astronauts have helped scientists and engineers to build a detailed understading of the Moon's history and environment -- and have led to more questions about how our Moon formed and evolved, what resources exist, and where we can find them.  Based upon what scientists and engineers have learned, can you help NASA determine potential sites for future outposts on the Moon?

Activity Materials:

Activity Handouts

 

Activity 2.2:  Re-entry System

One of the most critical parts of a human space mission is also one of the most obvious - coming home!  When a Space Shuttle was re-entering Earth's atmosphere, the shuttles surface temperature could reach up to 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit!  Safely slowing a speeding spacecraft enough that it can make a gentle landing on Earth is one of the hardest jobs in engineering - now it is your turn to see if you've got what it takes!  Using household materials, your task will be to construct a heatshield to protect your model sapcecraft from the fiery heat of the astmosphere.

Activity Materials:

  • Styrofoam cup (1)
  • Felt (1 sheet)
  • Aluminum foil (1 sheet)
  • Tape (masking or other type of tape)
  • Any materials at home you think may be good insulators (e.g. newspaper, foam, cotton)
  • Tongs or oven mitts
  • Scissors

Optional Materials:

  • Hair dryer
  • Timer or stopwatch
  • Ice cube (2) or other easily melting item

Activity Handouts

 

Activity 3.2:  Lunar Lander

NASA has identified some safe landing sites at the south pole of the Moon.  Now they need you to design and build a lander that can safely land at one of these sites without injuring the astronauts or damaging the lander.  Since the Moon doesn't have an atmosphere, the lander has to use propulsion to slow down and have a soft landing.  As the lander approaches the surface of the Moon, the engines shutoff a few feet above the surface which prevents dust and rocks from being blown into the spacecraft.

Activity Materials:

  • Cardboard (shipping box)
  • Cotton balls (10)
  • Index cards (8)
  • Craft sticks (8)
  • Paper cup (5 oz.)
  • Mini marshmallows (10)
  • Large marshmallow (1 representing astronaut may be replaced by any object)
  • Tape (masking or other type of tape)
  • Paper (copy, notebook, etc.)
  • Scissors

Activity Handouts

 

Grades 7 and 8

(Grade 7 - 8 YouTube link is here)

 

Activity 1.3:  Alka Seltzer Rocket

Newton's 3rd law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  And that is exactly what students can learn about when creating alka-seltzer powered rockets.  The rocket works because the key ingredients are sodium bocarbonate (baking soda) and citric acid.  These ingredients are super reactive, but luckily, when they are in sold form, they do not react with each other.  But when they'r able to move, such as when in water, the moleculse can mix, causing an acid-base reaction.  Can you design, build, and test your own alka-seltzer powered rocket?

Activity Materials:

  • 35mm Film Cannister (1)
  • Alka Seltzer tablets (1 packet)
  • Nose cone (can cut a nose cone from an index card or construction paper)
  • Fins (can cut fins from an index card or construction paper)
  • Tape (masking or other type of tape)
  • Scissors
  • Water (approximately 1/2 cup)

Optional Materials:

  • Cutting board and knife to cut tablets in half

Activity Handouts

 

Activity 2.3:  Orbital Trajectories

Thanks to NASA the Moon is getting a new crater!  NASA is sending a spacecraft hurtling into the Moon's surface.  Why?  To see if there's water below the surface.  This collision will send up a plume of dust and gas over 6 miles (10 kilometesr) high.  To tell if there's any water, scientists will look for ice crystals and water vapor in this plume.  Can you design, build, and test the spacecraft that will release the lander to hit its desired target?

Activity Materials:

  • Paper cup (5 oz.)
  • Fishing line or dental floss (5 yds)
  • Small marble (1)
  • Index card (1)
  • Paper clip (1)
  • String (3 yds)
  • Tape (masking or other type of tape)
  • Scissors
  • Sheet with target
  • Chair, door knob, or other object to create a zip line
Activity Handouts

 

Activty 3.3:  Launch Stack

NASA's Constellation program for the next generation of space rockets includes a heavy lift launcher called the Space Launch System.  The Space Launch System will carry heavy payloads into orbit, such as very large scientific satellites, space station replacement modules and supplies, and Earth departure stages that will propel human spacecraft to the Moon and Mars.  Raising heavy payloads to orbit is challenging.  Rockets require powerful engines and massive amounts of propellants.  NASA's Space Launch System will be able to accomplish the job.  Can you design, build, and test a balloon powered rocket that can launch the greatest payload possible?

Activity Materials:

  • Balloon (any shape or size latex balloon)
  • Fishing line or dental floss (5 yds) - see Orbital Trajectory activity
  • Paper cup (3 oz)
  • Paperclips (20)
  • Straw (1)
  • Tape (masking or other type of tape)
  • Scissors
  • Cargo Cards (same as activity 1.1)
  • Grid Template (same as activity 1.1)
  • Two objects such as chairs, door knobs, or other objects to string the fishing line between

Optional Materials:

  • Binder clip, chip clip, or clothes pin to pinch the end of the balloon until you are ready to launch

Activity Handouts