Up, Up, and Away

Aerospace Engineering

Program ● Interactive ● Grades 3-8

During the Aerospace Engineering classes, students use the Engineering Design Process to design, create, test, and refine a variety of flying machines. They construct a shock absorbing system designed to protect two marshmallow astronauts in a lunar vehicle, create their own air-powered rockets, and assemble a model blimp that actually takes flight!

Aerospace engineering is one of the newest disciplines of engineering, facilitated by the growth of the aviation industry in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Aerospace engineers are responsible for the design of aircraft and the subsequent assembly or construction process. Aerospace engineering can be further broken down into two separate branches: aeronautical engineering, which deals with the design of near-atmosphere aircraft and astronautical engineering, which involves exo-atmosphere spacecraft.

Pre-Lesson

This pre-lesson is designed to provide students with a brief overview of technology, aerospace engineering, and the Engineering Design Process.

Hovercrafts (Foundation Lesson)

Instructors will engage students in a discussion of the role Engineers play in creating items we use in our daily lives. More specifically, they will discuss the role Aerospace Engineers play in our world. Students will use the Engineering Design Process to design, build, and test a hovercraft.

Airplanes

Students will get a firsthand look at the basic mechanics of flight by constructing paper airplanes and testing the different components that allow it to remain airborne. The terminology discussed in this lesson will play in an important role in later lessons.

There is Master Level Scaling in this lesson. 
This lesson has also been used as a camp lesson
Camp: Amazing Race: The Engineering of Travel  
      Lesson Name: Taking Flight 
Camp: Momentum Madness 
      Lesson Name: Airplanes and Ornithopters 

Blimp Blitz

In this lesson, students explore and apply the principles of buoyancy to create a neutrally buoyant blimp that uses the power of air currents to travel across the room.

This lesson has program, camp, and birthday party version 
Camp: Amazing Race: The Engineering of Travel 
      Lesson Name: Taking Flight 
Party: Spy Sense 
      Lesson Name: Blimp Blitz

Bottle Rockets

Students will learn how simple air pressure can jettison a rocket more than one hundred feet in the air. Students will get the chance to build a large model rocket that is capable of launching using pressurized water and air.

There is Master Level Scaling in this lesson. 
This lesson has also been used as a camp lesson
Camp: Amazing Race: The Engineering of Travel  
      Lesson Name: Traveling Up
Camp: Out of this World
      Lesson Name: Bottle Rockets

Go the Distance!

Students will use the Engineering Design Process to design and build a straw rocket that will fly at least 30 feet. Students will record the distance traveled by each test flight to compare how changing one variable impacts the flight of the rocket. (Students will select one variable at a time to test.)

Hot Air Balloons

Students will explore how hot air balloons ascend and descend using gases and air pressure, how aerodynamics plays a part in the design of a hot air balloon envelope and why air is a fluid mass and is composed of matter.

Lighter than Air

In this lesson, students explore and apply the principles of buoyancy to create a neutrally buoyant gas balloon that uses the power of air currents to travel across the room.

Lunar Lander

Students will learn about the importance of weight distribution in aircraft design. Students will build their own custom “Lunar Lander” to protect their space cadet marshmallows from being ejected from their space craft.

There is Master Level Scaling in this lesson. 
This lesson has also been used as a camp lesson
Camp: Amazing Race: The Engineering of Travel  
      Lesson Name: No Time to Land
Camp: Out of this World
      Lesson Name: Lunar Lander
Camp: Wreck-It Week
      Lesson Name: Lunar Lander

On Target!

Students will use the Engineering Design Process to design and build a straw rocket that will hit a specific target. Students will isolate and change the launch angle or launch power to successfully hit the target.

Paper Airplanes (Center of Gravity)

Students will build a paper airplane and will alter the center of gravity by changing the placement of the weight (clay) on the airplane. They will launch their airplanes using the Pitsco Air Powered Dragster Launcher and will make observations about how the changes to the center of gravity impact the plane’s performance.

Parachutes

Students will have to engineer a functional parachute for a test jumper that must descend gracefully after being dropped from a tall height. After the testing phase, which is an important part of the Engineering Design Process, students will be able to improve upon their design.

There is Master Level Scaling in this lesson. 
This lesson has also been used as a camp lesson
Camp: Survivor Week: Engineer's Cove 
      Lesson Name: Parachutes

Straw Rockets

Students will have the ability to design their own pneumatically driven rocket and the fins that stabilize the flight of the rocket. Lessons learned in this activity will be further developed in Bottle Rockets, including how launch angles, mass, and fin design all have an effect on total flight distance.

Extension options are included in this lesson.
There is Master Level Scaling in this lesson. 
This lesson has also been used as a camp lesson
Camp: Out of this World
      Lesson Name: Straw Rockets