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Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
 

Engineering Mars Spacecraft

This collection presents information on the different types of space craft that have visited Mars, what they were designed to study, and some of the instruments that were designed to complete their data collection.  It is organized to include pre and post-visit activities to accompany a visit to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.  An alternative app is suggested for those who are unable to visit the museum.

Students will: 

  • Identify engineering design requirements based on a description of what a spacecraft should be able to do.  
  • Compare the characteristics of the described spacecraft to models of actual spacecraft, determine how well the actual spacecraft meets the design requirements. 

Keywords: #airandspace, National Air and Space Museum, NASM, engineering, Curiosity, Opportunity, Viking, orbiter, lander, rover, 

National Air and Space Museum Smithsonian
22
 

Helicopters the science of vertical flight

The idea of vertical flight has been around for a long time. As early as 400 BC Chinese kids were playing with bamboo flying toys. In the 1480s Leonardo da Vinci made the first recorded advancement in vertical flight when he sketched his aerial screw. We have come a long way since then! This episode of STEM in 30 will explore helicopters: their design, how they work, and the functions they play in our society.

May 11, 2016

National Air and Space Museum
22
 

Kites

Did you know that the first aeronautical object in the National Air and Space Museum collection is a kite acquired in 1876? Kites aren't only fun objects to fly at the beach or on the National Mall, they have a long and important history. The Wright brothers tested their wing warping theory with a kite and kites have also been used during wartime. In this episode of STEM in 30 we'll look at not only how kites fly but their importance to aviation history.

April 20, 2016

National Air and Space Museum
24
 

A Sky Full of Color: Live from Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Balloons have a long and colorful history. After all, the first hot-air balloon passengers were a sheep, duck, and rooster who flew from France in 1783. Since then, balloons have been a mode of transportation, a military asset, and a source of entertainment for many. Join STEM in 30 as we come to you live from the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, bringing you the history of balloons, the science behind hot-air and gas balloons, and the pageantry of the Fiesta.

October 5, 2016

National Air and Space Museum
27
 

Design it Yourself: Design a Prototype for a User

Learn to think like a designer by prototyping a solution engineered for a specific user. 

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
23
 

Mayor Myers-Design A City!

Follow the steps to design a streetscape. 

Alyssa Myers
19
 

Design It Yourself: Design an Interior Space

Follow along to design a model of an interior space inspired by the work of IwamotoScott Architecture, 2019 National Design Award winner for Interior Design. 

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
18
 

Design It Yourself: Design a Bus Stop

Follow along to design a bus stop that keeps you warm. 

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
11
 

Design It Yourself: Design a Streetscape

Follow the steps to design a streetscape. 

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
12
 

Design It Yourself: Design a Habitat

Follow along to design a habitat that can exist within an urban space.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
12
 

Design It Yourself: Design a Utensil

Follow along to design an unusual utensil. 

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
12
 

ACCESS SERIES | Through the Lens of Curiosity

IMPORTANT: Click on the "i" for information icon and the paperclip icons as you move through the collection.

All Access Club Explores the Microscopic World. If you cannot see something, does that mean that it is not there? Nope! Just lurking under the surface of common, everyday objects is an entire world that we normally cannot see. People just like you can use microscopes to discover things that need magnification in order to view.  The collection is part of an activity series that explores this mysterious microscopic world.

EDUCATORS | For the LESSON PLAN of the original "Through the Lens of Curiosity"  << CLICK HERE >>

In this collection you will:

  • Find out about the world through the use of microscopes and magnifiers
  • Take on the role of detective as you embark on a quest to solve 5 mysteries -- by making observations about up-close objects and reading clues, can you figure out what the whole object is?
  • In the game A Part of the Whole, use your power of observation to consider the structures and functions of up-close objects to guess what they might be. Again, you will look at part of an object--photographed up-close--to guess at the whole.

If it is possible to set-up a hand's-on experience with microscopes along with the online activities -- the tactile portion will enhance the online activity. Teens can also view a video about scanning electron microscopes by a young scientist in the 'extension section'.

Keywords: decision-making, self-determination, access, disability, accessibility, neurodiversity, special education, SPED, out of school learning, informal learning, cognitive, social skills, engagement, passion, creativity, empowerment, All Access Digital Arts Program 

Tracie Spinale
64
 

Behind Design: Inka Bridge

Introduction

How might we learn about cultures through the study of artifacts? What role could the study of design elements and process play in in deepening our understanding? How could we leverage student agency of the design process to gain opportunities to recognize relationships between artifacts and culture?

This collection provides opportunities for students to uncover complexity by looking closely and making connections between cultures and the design process behind the artifacts. Student claims are based on evidence using provided resources for investigation. The Artifact Investigation Map serves as a visible thinking tool for documenting our understanding of a culture by making connections between the artifact and our research.

Procedure

Begin by looking closely at an artifact, INCA BRIDGE, using a Project Zero Routine, Zoom In or See Think Wonder. Through close examination, we begin to develop hypotheses about the object and the connections to the culture. While a main goal is to learn more about the culture related to the artifact, we are also building a capacity for using this thinking process to build understanding. Record and display class ideas generated through this routine. In the discussion of culture, we are looking at how people live: What do the people value? What are their priorities and motivations?

Introduce the points of The Artifact Investigation Map. Ask students, “How could this be used to organize the ideas documented from the thinking routine about the artifact and the people who created it?”. (Students may recognize this as the Engineering Design Process.) Building on our initial Zoom In documentation, the group connects the artifact ideas to the map points. Different questions within each point may serve as prompts to continue making connections and lead to more questions about what we still wonder, guiding the next research steps. Provide a space to record and share new questions during the process.

Begin the research process with the first video Weaving the Bridge at Q'eswacha. Using information from the source, model the process of organizing the findings using the different points on The Artifact Investigation Map. Be sure to highlight unanswered questions in the map as the class decides the future steps in the research. Support the student use of resource-based evidence starting from this Learning Lab collection when making and documenting claims. Depending on the learners, this phase may vary in the structure of guidance and interaction. Documentation is shared with an emphasis on providing opportunities to discuss the claims, findings, and analysis.


Guiding Points for Inquiry using The Artifact Investigation Map:

Ask: What needs or problems might this artifact address/solve? Does this design reflect empathy for a particular group or person?

Imagine: What possible prototypes or variations might have been produced in the timeline of this artifact? Could there have been earlier versions leading to this one?  

Plan: Identify and describe what could have been key factors influencing design process. Examples: materials/natural resources, people power, skills, technology/tools, historical and natural environment….

(Re)Create: Describe the possible steps taken to create the artifact. What could this look like? Options include for this exploration: Try to create a mini-version or reenact one of the steps of the process. Use observations of the process to draw possible conclusions about the culture. Sketch or act out the steps. Take a part of the process and use the Step Inside thinking routine. *Document and share this process with the group in order to prepare for the next phase of The Artifact Investigation Map

Improvements: Since the creation of this artifact, what versions do we see today? What would the biography of this type of innovation look like? How might this type of artifact connect to modern innovation? *Extension for Improvements: Use the thinking routine Imagine If to evaluate a modern iteration of the artifact. How does it compare to the original?


Documenting Ongoing Conclusions/Questions/Reflections

Throughout the investigation, students share and post supported claims about the culture and reflect upon the process of using the design cycle to guide the study.

For the final reflection, use the thinking routine I Used to Think, Now I Think… to look for changes in thinking. Keep the process and research lines of thinking open for continued exploration with the unanswered questions.

#PZPGH

Erik Lindemann
32
 

Behind Design: Exploring Culture Through Artifact Investigation

Introduction

How might we learn about cultures through the study of artifacts? What role could the study of design elements and process play in in deepening our understanding? How could we leverage student agency of the design process to gain opportunities to recognize relationships between artifacts and culture?

This collection provides opportunities for students to uncover complexity by looking closely and making connections between cultures and the design process behind the artifacts. Student claims are based on evidence using provided resources for investigation. The Artifact Investigation Map serves as a visible thinking tool for documenting our understanding of a culture by making connections between the artifact and research.

Procedure

Begin by looking closely at an artifact, Lone Dog Winter Count, using a Project Zero Routine, Zoom In. Through close examination, we begin to develop hypotheses about the object and the connections to the culture. While a main goal is to learn more about the culture related to the artifact, we are also building a capacity for using this thinking process to build understanding. Record and display class ideas generated through this routine. In the discussion of culture, we are looking at how people live: What do the people value? What are their priorities and motivations?

Introduce the points of The Artifact Investigation Map. Ask students, “How could this be used to organize the ideas documented from the thinking routine about the artifact and the people who created it?”. (Students may recognize this as the Engineering Design Process.) Building on our initial Zoom In documentation, the group connects the artifact ideas to the map points. Different questions within each point may serve as prompts to continue making connections and lead to more questions about what we still wonder, guiding the next research steps. Provide a space to record and share new questions during the process.

Begin the research process with the first video Lakota Winter Counts. Using information from the source, model the process of organizing the findings using the different points on The Artifact Investigation Map. Be sure to highlight unanswered questions in the map as the class decides the future steps in the research. Support the student use of resource-based evidence starting from this Learning Lab collection when making and documenting claims. Depending on the learners, this phase may vary in the structure of guidance and interaction. Documentation is shared with an emphasis on providing opportunities to discuss the claims, findings, and analysis.


Guiding Points for Inquiry using The Artifact Investigation Map:

Ask: What needs or problems might this artifact address/solve? Does this design reflect empathy for a particular group or person?

Imagine: What possible prototypes or variations might have been produced in the timeline of this artifact? Could there have been earlier versions leading to this one?  

Plan: Identify and describe what could have been key factors and/or restrictions influencing design process. Examples: materials/natural resources, traditions, people power, skills, technology/tools, historical and natural environment….

(Re)Create: Describe the possible steps taken to create the artifact. What could this look like? Options include for this exploration: Try to create a version or reenact one of the steps of the process. Use observations of the process to draw possible conclusions about the culture. Sketch or act out the steps. Take a part of the process and use the Step Inside thinking routine. *Document and share this process with the group in order to prepare for the next phase of The Artifact Investigation Map

Improvements: Since the creation of this artifact, what versions do we see today? What would the biography of this type of innovation look like? How might this type of artifact connect to modern innovation?  *Extension for Improvements: Use the thinking routine Imagine If to evaluate a modern iteration of the artifact. How does it compare to the original?


Documenting Ongoing Conclusions/Questions/Reflections

Throughout the investigation, students share and post supported claims about the culture and reflect upon the process of using the design cycle to guide the study.

For the final reflection, use the thinking routine I Used to Think, Now I Think… to look for changes in thinking. Keep the process and research lines of thinking open for continued exploration with the unanswered questions.

#PZPGH

Erik Lindemann
30
 

How might we re-design our classroom?

This collection begins with the analysis of a series of images from 19th and 20th century classroom settings. Next, learners will apply Agency by Design thinking routines to explore elements of their own classroom that could be re-designed. Learners will go through the design process to: 

  • identify the precise challenge
  • brainstorm a solution, and
  • create a prototype.

This lesson introduces the design process to learners through a familiar system, the classroom. It allows for learners to collaborate in the improvement and re-design of their own learning environment, while taking into account the needs of other users of the space. 


This collection was created as an example used in the "Smithsonian Learning Lab, Focus on Design" session at the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA) Arts Integration Learning Institute. 

Ashley Naranjo
21
 

"The World of Your Senses": Parallel Perspectives from Tibetan Buddhism and Western Science on Sensory Perception

"The World of Your Senses" shares parallel perspectives from Tibetan Buddhism and western science on sensory perception. This collection explores the questions: How do we see? How does hearing work? How do we perceive smell? How does taste function? How do we sense touch? In addition, the Buddhist perspective includes a sixth sense... mind consciousness!

"The World of Your Senses" is the result of many years of work growing out of directives from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his long history engaging Western scientists in dialogue. The script, content, and imagery were envisioned by a dedicated and curiosity-filled group of thirty Tibetan Buddhist monastics-in-exile from monasteries and nunneries in India, through the "Science for Monks and Nuns" program. The creation of the physical exhibit, launched in 2010, was supported through a unique collaboration between the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LWTA in Dharamsala, India), the Sager Family Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. (SCEMS/SCLDA & OEC/Smithsonian Exhibitions), and the Exploratorium in San Francisco. It has since traveled to the United States, Nepal, and Bhutan.

The resource is bi-lingual: English and Tibetan.

RELATED COLLECTIONS:

Senses Series – Sight in Humans and Animals      (http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/n2f39XxkfBRJeHPk)

Senses Series – Hearing      (http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/7EbVTM49NgWiGrzA)

Senses Series – Smell      (http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/7LjjBHybUk9HE8Wj)

Senses Series – Taste     (http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/2w7r7PVoAgghiYmL)

Senses Series – Touch     (http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/oon5rHojeyrEwNEE)


This collection is based Science For Monks, World of Your Senses (2010).

Tracie Spinale
28
 

Destination Moon: Suiting Up for Space

How did the space suit come to look the way it does? From the United States Navy's Mark IV pressure suit to the Apollo AL7 model, this collection explores its evolution. Investigate the hotspots in each image, and watch the videos included. Try to put yourself in the place of an astronaut - what are their needs, and wants? 

Next, investigate the roadmap for the developing Mars One mission. How will a Mars mission differ from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs?

After exploring the collection, see if you can redefine the "space suit" problem for the next generation of space explorers - specifically those going to Mars.  Will astronauts need more mobility? More protection? What insights did you gain from looking at this collection? Write down the problem and any critical information gained. 

Additional Activities: 

1. Come up with as many solutions as you can to the defined problem. Don't worry about testing them all - let your imagination run wild - and challenge yourself to come up with lots of different solutions. 

2. Talk with a partner to see which solution has the most merit between you both. Refine your idea based on this conversation. 

Finally, prototype! Use simple, inexpensive materials to model your design. 

Christina Ferwerda
7
 

Kites

Did you know that the first aeronautical object in the National Air and Space Museum collection is a kite acquired in 1876? Kites aren’t only fun objects to fly at the beach or on the National Mall, they have a long and important history. The Wright brothers tested their wing warping theory with a kite and kites have also been used during wartime. In this episode of STEM in 30 we’ll look at not only how kites fly but their importance to aviation history.
Kerri Lambert
19
 

Reading Companion: Science of Hot-Air Balloons

This collection is a reading companion to the Cricket article "Hang on, Dolly!" [April 2016]. This article tells the story of Dolly Shepherd, an adventure-loving aerobat who parachuted from high-flying hot-air balloons in the early twentieth century. After learning about her story, explore the science of hot-air balloons with STEM in 30, a fast-paced webcast targeted towards students. Also includes lithographs depicting other female balloonists.
Michelle Smith
5