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NGSS Lesson Planning Template

Grade/ Grade Band: 3-5th grade

Topic: Touchdown

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.

Specific Learning Outcomes: To engage in this engineering challenge, which will have students
studying which design will get the most lift. The testing is iterative. The students will articulate the
aspects of the design allowed the rocket to have the greatest distance.
Lesson Level Narrative
Landing on the surface of Mars is a daunting tasks. 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 tasks is to use engineering design process to design and build a
shock-absorbing system out of paper, straws, and mini-marshmallows; then, attach your shock absorber to a
cardboard platform; and then improve the initial design based on test results.
Science & Engineering
Asking questions and defining
Define simple problem that
can be solved through the
development of a new or
improved object or tool.
Developing and Using Models to
understand what it takes to land on
the surface of the moon.
Using scientific and mathematical
Analyzing data from system trails to
determine which design is best
landing on the surface of Mars
Constructing Explanations and
designing solutions
Constructing explanations
and designing solutions in
3-5 builds on K-2
experiences and
progresses to the use of
evidence in constructing
explanations that specify
variables that describe and
predict phenomena and in
designing multiple
solutions to design

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting
Engineering Problems
The more precisely a
design tasks criteria and
constraints can be defined,
the more likely it is that
the designed solution will
be successful.
Specification of constraints
includes consideration of
scientific principles and
other relevant knowledge
that is likely to limit
possible solutions
ETS1.B: Developing Possible
Research on a problem
should be carried out
before beginning to design
the system. Testing a
solution involves
investigating how well it
performs under a range of
PS2.B: Types of Interactions
The gravitational force of
the planet acting on an
object near the surface
pulls that object toward
the planets center

Crosscutting Concepts:
Influence of science, engineering,
and technology on Society and the
Natural World.
The uses of technologies
and any limitations on
their use are driven by
individual or societal
needs, desires, and values;
by the findings of scientific
research; and by
differences in such actors
as climate, natural
resources and economic

Possible Preconceptions/Misconceptions:
Elementary-school students typically do not understanding 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 persis after traditional high-school physics
instruction. Misconceptions about the causes of gravity can be overcome by specially designed instruction.
ENGAGE: Opening Activity Access Prior Learning / Stimulate Interest / Generate Questions:

Show Students the different ways to land. Theres different ways to absorb shocks.
Now we have our rocket launching, but how do we land it and survive the landing?

EXPLORE: Lesson Description What should the teachers ask and do? What will the students do?
We show different landing systems to get them to think about what works best. We also want to
show them videos, so when we show our class model, they wont want to copy. They will have a
more examples to come up with unique landing systems.

EXPLAIN: Concepts Explained and Vocabulary Defined:

The materials that are needed are a 5x5 cardboard, paper cup, three index cards, limited tape,
straws, and marshmallows. Our class goal is to have a landing system where the marshmallows do
not fall out of the cup without covering the cup as well. Students must use problem solving skills to
improve or fix their landing system.

We test out all the landing systems. With the winners, we analyze the models to see why its was
successful. With the ones that fail, we also analyze what was missing or what to improve on.
Connect back to the lesson and the importance to have a safe landing system. We need to land safety to survive
and be able to explore Mars in the next lesson.
Elaborate Further / Reflect: Enrichment: