Your child is beginning an exciting unit, in science class, entitled the NASA Engineering Design Challenge. This unit will connect students with the work of NASA engineers by engaging them in a related design challenge in their classroom. Students will design, build, and test their own solutions to a design problem similar to one faced by NASA engineers.
Thermal Protection Systems
NASA is currently designing and developing the next generation of space transportation vehicles, the Ares launch vehicles, which will one day replace the Space Shuttle as a way to put people and satellites into orbit and help transport them to the Moon and eventually to Mars. The Ares launch vehicles are being designed at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. One challenge faced by designers of the Ares rockets is how to protect the vehicle from the heat of friction as they fly through the atmosphere at high speeds during launch. Another challenge is to protect the rockets from the heat of their own engines. The tremendous heat caused by friction with the Earths atmosphere must be kept from reaching the skin of the spacecraft. This is the purpose of a thermal protection system: to protect the launch vehicles in these situations.
Your childs challenge in class is to build a thermal protection system for a small object. He/she will use such common materials as nuts, washers, screening, and aluminum foil to build a protective shield that will protect the object from heat. The design will be tested and then the student will have the opportunity to revise the design based on the test results. Designs will go through a number of revisions to try to improve the amount of time the object is protected. As a culminating activity, students will create posters documenting their design process and results.
Questions to Ask Your Child About the Project
This is an inquiry-based activity. This means that much of your childs learning depends on hands-on experimentation. It is important, however, that your child reflects on the hands-on work and tries to understand why certain design features were or were not successful. You can encourage this reflection by asking your child to:
Explain the challenge and the design constraints.
Describe the design and how it survived the testing.
Explain why the design did or did not work well.
Explain whether other students in the class tried different designs and
how those designs tested.
Explain the next design and why it will be an improvement.
Engineering Design Challenges Web site
About Ares Launch Vehicles
Constellation Program: Ares V Cargo Launch Vehicle
Constellation Program: Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle
About the Space Shuttle
NASA: Human Space Flight
About the Space Shuttle Thermal Protection System
Shuttle Thermal Protection System (TPS)
Orbiter Thermal Protection System
About Thermal Protection Materials
Thermal Protection Materials and Systems Branch
Ames Research Center
About Engineering and Careers
Aimed at inspiring interest in engineering among Americas youth, the site is a vast resource. Among the many features is information on what engineers do and how to become one. Designed for students in grades six through nine, the site has links to games, downloadables, engineering societies, and other resources. One section, for example, lists several cool things tied to engineering, such as the mechanics of getting music from a compact disc to the ears, how to make a batch of plastic at home, and how to fold the worlds greatest paper airplane.
Some Additional NASA Web Sites
The worldwide distribution center for NASA-produced multimedia materials
A link to the many education resources provided by NASA
NASA home page
Marshall Space Flight Center Home Page
Hour of Code
Ms. Boeckl's Science Website
Link to your online textbook
Don't forget to use your login and password. I placed a sticker with each students' information on the inside cover of their agenda book.
Login to Edmodo
Dear Parent/Guardian and Student:
Welcome to sixth grade science at Burleigh Manor. The sixth grade science program focuses on Earth Science. Major topics include: lab safety and scientific measurement, weather, geology, ecology, and astronomy. In addition students will also be developing skills necessary to be successful in not only this science class, but future classes as well.
NOTEBOOK: Each student should use a small 3-ring binder as their science notebook. Students will be required to bring their notebook to class every day unless otherwise instructed. In general, students will not be able to use materials in their notebook during quizzes or tests, but should use notebook material to help review for tests or quizzes. Periodically I will have notebook checks or quizzes to check notebook organization. These will be worth points towards a students overall grade.
TEXTBOOK: Students will be issued a science textbook. It is very important to keep the textbook covered at all times. There will be a lot of reading assigned from the textbook. Students do not normally need to bring their textbook to class every day but should bring them if assigned. A webbased edition of the textbook is available online. Students will be given a login and a password to access the publishers website. Damaged or lost textbooks will result in a fine being assessed to the student.
HOMEWORK: Homework will be assigned. All BMMS students are given a homework assignment book to be used for all classes. Students are required to copy their homework assignment from the board each day. Science homework will include: written assignments, finishing classwork, reading, and studying for tests and quizzes. I will check completed written assignments the day they are due. I will review the written assignments in class and students will have the opportunity to correct their work at that time. After being collected, homework will be graded for accuracy, being on time, and completeness. In general, written homework that was completed on time will receive full credit. Homework completed late will earn ½ credit at most. Students are responsible for getting and making up any homework missed during absences. A reasonable amount of time will be allowed for students to make up missed homework.
TESTS AND QUIZZES: Each unit will end with a test or quest (small test). There will also be quizzes and mini quizzes during units, some unannounced. These will be designed to make sure students are keeping up on their science work and that they are learning the material. Hopefully this will help students be better prepared for the end of quarter assessments.
LAB AND GROUP WORK: Labs and group activities are an important part of the science program. Safety is very important in science class and students will be expected to follow established safety rules and procedures. Each student will be required to sign a safety contract and pass a science safety test before participating in labs. Safety rules will be enforced. Violations may mean losing lab privileges for a determined period of time, and/or receiving partial credit or no credit for a lab. A student not following safety rules and procedures endangers not only him/herself but others in the class. Assignments missed because of improper safety practices cannot be made up and may result in the lowering of a students overall grade because of the missed points.
GRADING: Grading will be based on a point system. Each assignment I grade will have a certain point value. All assignments will be posted to Teacherease.
90-100% of possible points = A
80-89% of possible points = B
70-79% of possible points = C
60-69% of possible points = D
less than 60% of possible points = E
LATE WORK: All work must be completed on time!
Homework that is one day late will lose 50% of the grade. All other assignments will lose 10% for each school day after the assignment is due. If you know that you will not be able to hand in an assignment in on time, please talk to me as soon as possible. Before the due date I can be very flexible. After the due date it is late.
I will not accept for credit any assignments more than 2 weeks past due or after the end of the quarter. Please see the school system calendar for these dates and please feel free to contact me regarding any special circumstances.
MAKE-UP WORK: Students are responsible for making up all work missed when they are absent. It is the students responsibility to check for missed assignments. In general for every day missed the student has that many days to complete the assignments.
Parents, you may access my school web page through yourclasspage.com, and your childs grade through Teacher Ease. I update my school web page at least once a week so please check it weekly if possible for class updates and current homework assignments. You may also sign up to be notified when my web page changes by clicking on the Be notified icon at the top of the page. Feel free to contact me during the school year by note, phone call, or email if you have a question or concern. The school phone number is 410-313-2507. Email is the quickest way of reaching me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also email me directly from my school web page by clicking on the email me icon at the top of the page. Thank you in advance for your attention and support.
Mr. McGurl and Miss Boeckl
I'm so excited to start the year here at Burleigh Manor! I keep hearing such great things about all of the students and staff. I am looking forward to getting to know each of you as we have a great time learning about our Earth in Mr. McGurl's class!