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NGSS Lesson Planning Template

Lesson # __4__ in a series of


_7___ lessons
Brief Lesson Description: Landing on Mars is very complicated and students will be brainstorming a design to
build a system that absorbs the shock of landing on the surface. The purpose of this system is to protect the two
astronauts when they land.
Performance Expectation(s):
MS-ETS1-2 Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to
ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and prudential
impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
3-5-ETS1-2 Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based o how well each is
likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Grade/ Grade Band: 3-5th grade

Topic: Touchdown

Specific Learning Outcomes: To engage in this engineering challenge, which will have students
studying which design will land most safely. The testing is iterative. The students will articulate the
aspects of the design allowed the lander to land softly here on Earth and how this might differ on
Mars.
Lesson Level Narrative
Landing on the surface of Mars is a daunting task. The mission crew has been in space for 300 days and are now
close enough to attempt a landing. The new problem that you engineers need to solve is how to enter, descend
and land on the surface of the planet. Your task is to use engineering design process to design and build a shockabsorbing system out of paper, straws, and mini-marshmallows; then, attach your shock absorber to a space
capsule; and then improve the initial design based on test results.
Science & Engineering
Science & Engineering
Science & Engineering
Practices:
Practices:
Practices:
Asking questions and defining
Asking questions and defining
Asking questions and defining
problems
problems
problems

Define simple problem that

Define simple problem that

Define simple problem that


can be solved through the
can be solved through the
can be solved through the
development of a new or
development of a new or
development of a new or
improved object or tool.
improved object or tool.
improved object or tool.
Developing and Using Models to
understand what it takes to land on
the surface of the moon.

Developing and Using Models to


understand what it takes to land on
the surface of the moon.

Developing and Using Models to


understand what it takes to land on
the surface of the moon.

Using scientific and mathematical


reasoning

Using scientific and mathematical


reasoning

Using scientific and mathematical


reasoning

Analyzing data from system trials to


determine which design is best for
landing on the surface of Mars

Analyzing data from system trials


to determine which design is best
for landing on the surface of Mars

Analyzing data from system trials to


determine which design is best for
landing on the surface of Mars

Constructing Explanations and


Constructing Explanations and
Constructing Explanations and
designing solutions
designing solutions
designing solutions

Constructing explanations

Constructing explanations

Constructing explanations
and designing solutions in
and designing solutions in
and designing solutions in
3-5 builds on K-2
3-5 builds on K-2
3-5 builds on K-2
experiences and progresses
experiences and progresses
experiences and progresses
to the use of evidence in
to the use of evidence in
to the use of evidence in
constructing explanations
constructing explanations
constructing explanations
that specify variables that
that specify variables that
that specify variables that
describe and predict
describe and predict
describe and predict
phenomena and in
phenomena and in
phenomena and in
designing multiple solutions
designing multiple solutions
designing multiple solutions
to design problems.
to design problems.
to design problems.
Possible Preconceptions/Misconceptions:
Elementary-school students typically do not understand gravity as a force. They see the phenomenon of a falling
body as natural with no need for further explanation or they ascribe to it an internal effort of the object that is
falling (Obgborn, J. (1985). Understanding students understanding: An example from dynamics. European
Journal of Science Education, 7, 141-150.) If students do not view weight as a force, they usually think it is the
air that exerts this force. Misconceptions about the causes of gravity persist after traditional high-school physics
instruction. Misconceptions about the causes of gravity can be overcome by specially designed instruction.

LESSON PLAN 5-E Model


ENGAGE: Opening Activity Access Prior Learning / Stimulate Interest / Generate Questions:

Provide pictures, show videos of landers touching down on the moon and mars,
show the video of the seven crucial minutes for NASA/JPL engineers. Show the
teachers lander to students. Ask questions about landings, shuttles, speed, heat,
and force.

EXPLORE: Lesson Description What should the teachers ask and do? What will the students do?
Brainstorm, pair share, draw design which leads them to execute their plan. Separate the students into groups of
two and pass out materials.
What kind of shock absorber can you make from these materials to help soften a landing?
How will you make sure the lander doesnt tip over as it falls through the air?
EXPLAIN: Concepts Explained and Vocabulary Defined:
Scientists most crucial part of landing, the safety of astronauts; getting marshmallows to planet safely. Being
able to slow down lander or minimize the force of impact.
Vocabulary:
Force, absorption, energy, gravity, velocity, speed, heat, pressure, and impact.

ELABORATE: Applications and Extensions:


Connect to curriculumPotential and Kinetic energy, Acceleration due to gravity, Air resistance, and measurement.
EVALUATE:
Formative Monitoring (Questioning / Discussion):
What forces affected your lander?
What did you learn from watching others test their lander?
Engineers; early ideas rarely work out perfectly. How does testing help them improve a design?
What did you learn from watching others test their landers?
The moon is covered in a thick layer of fine dust. How might this be an advantage? A Disadvantage?
Summative Assessment (Quiz / Project / Report):

Elaborate Further / Reflect: Enrichment:


Hold a How high can you go contest