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July 20, 1969- one of the most famous dates in history – the day a human first stepped foot on the moon. The Apollo 11 mission to the moon is a fascinating and exciting story – but how did those astronauts land back on Earth? They parachuted into the Pacific Ocean! Tell your kids the fantastic story of the Apollo mission and assign them a mission: design and build a parachute that will land the Apollo spacecraft safely back on Earth.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) state that we must incorporate engineering into our elementary science curriculum. Kids love designing and creating on their own and this packet encourages them to think like engineers. I do not tell my students how to create a parachute. They have to figure it out themselves through trial and error –it is the best way for them to learn the engineering process! I had my students work in groups of 2 and at the end of this unit, every group had designed a unique and functional parachute. Their creativity never ceases to amaze me and they feel so triumphant when they bring a design idea to life!
NGSS standards met with this packet:
Grades 3-5: ENGINEERING DESIGN
3-5-ETS1-1: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that included specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
3-5-ETS1-2: Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
3-5-ETS1-3: Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
-5 page brief of the Apollo 11 moon mission, discussion questions included
-3 parachute photos for inspiration and design discussion
-project parameters; variables that can be changed and payload pattern included
-student worksheets: Preliminary design, Individual data, Class data, Chart, Graph
-Photo of student example from my class
-16 photos from the actual Apollo mission
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Please note: these units are for the use of one educator.
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Sue from Science for Kids :)