Unit Overview

Kids engineer models of flying technologies that help NASA collect aerial photographs.

  • Grades 3–5
  • Setting: Out of school
  • Science connection: Forces and motion
  • 8 activities
  • 45 minutes per activity

Standards alignment

We’ve developed each EiE unit with careful attention to educational standards in both science and technology/engineering. View Standards Alignments.

Unit Map

Kids engineer a tower and are introduced to the Engineering Design Process as a problem-solving tool.
Kids examine technologies and explore ways to improve them.
Kids learn about NASA’s aeronautical engineering work, including their aerial photography. Then, they explore how some materials interact with air when placed in a vertical wind tunnel.
Kids explore drop copters and try to design a drop copter that falls slowly.
Kids engineer flying discs that spin as they move through the air.
Groups use what they have learned about aeronautical engineering to design a model flying technology that meets a set of criteria and constraints.
Groups improve their model flying technologies, making sure they address their criteria and constraints.
Groups present their model flying technologies and are shown examples of aerial images that would be taken by NASA aeronautical missions.

What's Included?

  • Educator Guide (PDF)
  • Engineering Journal (PDF)
  • Context-Setting Audio Messages (.mp3)
  • Print Materials (PDF)
  • Additional Resources