Taking to the Skies

Aerospace Engineering

Program ● Interactive ● Grades PK-2

The Junior Aerospace Engineering classes introduce our youngest engineers to fundamental concepts of aircraft and spacecraft design. Through open and focused exploration, students explore and construct airplanes, rockets, helicopters, and more.

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 also 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.

3-2-1.. Blastoff!

For this activity, students will get a glimpse into the world of rocketry and aerodynamics. Students will design a model rocket using a straw, clay, and paper fins and will test the design of their rocket using a pneumatic-launching device.

This lesson has also been used as a camp lesson
Camp: Wings, Wheels, and Sails Camp (link)
      Lesson Name: 3-2-1... BLASTOFF!

Extension: Target Practice

For this lesson extension, students will create a target with circles traced in order of greatest to least. They should understand how the angle a rocket is launched at affects the distance it travels and where it lands.

This extension is not a stand alone lesson.  The 3-2-1... BLASTOFF! lesson MUST be completed before students can participate in the Extension. 

Airborne Engineers

In the introductory lesson, Airborne Engineers, students will explore the job of an aerospace engineer through discussion and active participation. They will learn that engineers perform a variety of jobs for the community and world.

This lesson can be extended using the Up, Up, and Away lesson.

Kites

Students will explore the foundations of symmetry and create their own kite in this lesson. During the extension, students apply the same principles of aerodynamics to create a parachute that can safely deliver a passenger to the ground.

Look Out Below!

Applying the same principles of aerodynamics as in Kites lesson, students create a parachute and learn about the parts of a parachute and discover how parachutes are designed to safely transport people from the air to the ground.

This lesson also can be used as an extension to Kites lesson. 
This lesson has also been used as a camp lesson
Camp: Twisted Fairy Tales(link)
      Lesson Name: Ready, Set Jump!

Sailing The Skies

A gentle breeze will take the students’ imagination on a journey in the Sailing the Skies activity. Students will be responsible for constructing a hot-air balloon using a helium filled balloon and other everyday items. Similar to the first balloon ride, students will use animals as their passengers and work to lift them into the air.

Extension: Getting Carried Away

In this lesson extension, students will explore adding weight to the basket of the hot-air balloon and make generalizations about how this affects the rise and fall of the balloon. They should investigate the effect adding more balloons has on their design and evaluate how an air vent works on a hot air balloon.

The lesson extension is not a stand alone lesson. The Sailing the Skies lesson MUST be completed before students can participate in the Extension. 

Stomp Rockets

There’s plenty of engineering that goes into designing rockets that can successfully launch beyond our atmosphere. In this lesson, students create their own stomp rockets.

This lesson can be extended using the Stomp Rockets Launcher lesson 

Stomp Rockets Launchers

There’s plenty of engineering that goes into designing rockets that can successfully launch beyond our atmosphere. In this lesson, students have the opportunity to create their own stomp rocket launcher.

This lesson also can be used as a extension to Stomp Rockets lesson. 

Straw Loop Planes

In the lesson, students apply concepts of gliders and thrust to create straw loop planes.

This lesson also can be used as a extension to Stomp Rockets lesson. 

Up, Up, And Away

In this lesson, students build their very own flying airplane and they will understand how airplanes must be balanced to fly smoothly as they create a plane utilizing potential and kinetic energy.

This lesson also can be used as an extension to Airborne Engineers

Whirling Wonders

In the final lesson, Whirling Wonders, students will construct model helicopters. They will explore how forces such as thrust and lift help helicopters maneuver. In the lesson extension, students apply concepts of gliders and thrust to create straw loop planes.

This lesson has also been used as a camp lesson
Camp: Wings, Wheels, and Sails Camp (link)
      Lesson Name: Whirling Wonders in Flight