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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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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.