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STEM Activity
During the Mars 2020 mission, NASA plans to explore the surface of Mars using a rover in combination with a lightweight helicopter. To be able to fly on Mars, this helicopter must be super light and have very efficient blades. If not, it will never generate enough lift to get off the ground. In this activity, you will make your own paper helicopter and test different blade designs. Will your findings be reflected in NASA's design? Try it out and see for yourself! Read more
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Blog Post
Join Science Buddies this summer for virtual summer camp! Each week, we'll have a fun STEM theme for kids of all ages, suggestions for simple hands-on activities, book picks, and more. With our Summer of STEM, we'll keep you and your kids inspired all summer with creative and innovative science and engineering activities — for free. This week: go on a Mission to Mars with space-themed science! A Mission to Mars with Space Science On NASA's upcoming… Read more
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Blog Post
The Perseverance rover will be landing on Mars in February! Use these free STEM lesson plans and hands-on activities to explore space science and the Solar System with students. As part of NASA's Mars 2020 mission, the Perseverance rover launched in July 2020. The rover is headed to Mars, where it will spend close to two Earth years collecting rock and soil samples on the Red Planet. The rover is about the size of a car. It weighs more than 2,000 pounds,… Read more
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Blog Post
Looking for last-minute STEM ideas for the end of the year, for after testing, for a classroom warmup, or for a rainy day at home? Try these paper-based STEM activities! Science Activities that Use Paper! Doing science and engineering activities doesn't have to require lots of materials. If you are looking for something to do with students in the classroom or with kids at home, an engaging STEM learning experience might be just a stack of paper away!… Read more
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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Space exploration poses many challenges. In this lesson, students will explore how flying a helicopter on Mars is different from flying a helicopter on Earth due to the difference in the helicopter's weight on Mars and the thin Martian atmosphere. Students will follow the engineering design process to design and build paper helicopters that might be able to fly on Mars. Before testing their different helicopter designs, students will revisit the concept of gravity, and apply their knowledge to… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS2-4. Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects.
  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
Free science fair projects.