The first project of our space exploration unit was designing a planetary landing shuttle. This could easily be adapted to a homeschool science study on the moon race (and probably will be in our homeschool next year).
Planetary Landing Shuttle supplies
I spent a few weeks squirreling away any and all recyclables for this project. I stuck in some craft sticks, pipe cleaners, and some fabric, and then let them have at it. Imagine a picture full of recycling stuff, but the computer ate it.
Requirements for designing a planetary landing shuttle
As for most projects I gave the kids a rubric (
which I’m still hunting for the exact copy of it, I made a new copy). Their planetary landing shuttle had to have in it:
- space for two figures to sit (they were allowed to choose the figures)
- room for cargo (the astronauts brought back a few tons of moon rocks)
- a way to fly (wings or some kind of engine)
- be able to survive a drop from 20 feet without any pieces falling off
- a name for their planetary landing shuttle
- a logo as well….. and more in the rubric
Then I set them loose designing for the next hour or so. Occasionally one of them would run upstairs and drop their shuttle off the balcony to see how it did. There was lots of excited mutters and explanations as they went through it all.
Testing our planetary landing shuttles
Finally we were ready to test these things. First came the obligatory posing and taking pictures because after all “Pictures or it never happened”. Then I had each of the kids explain their projects to me (watching this video let me reconstruct the rubric).
Then I stood below and took pictures as the kids took turns dropping their landing shuttles. Everyone’s shuttles did great, and we were able to have a great discussion of what made different factors work better than others.
Come back tomorrow to see how we retrieve the planetary landing shuttles
Check out the rest of the series:
and my astronomy pinterest board.
Come see tons more series at the iHomeschool Network Hopscotch.