Gaining Traction on Mars
Engineering, Math, Physics, Science
3D Printer, Laser Cutter/Engraver, Vinyl Cutter/Printer
Description: During this project, students work in teams to design and build the most effective wheel and gear combinations for a Mars rover. Throughout the project, students will learn about the surface of Mars, calculate the velocity and acceleration of their rover, understand how gears work, explore the effects of friction, use the engineering design process, and more. This project is divided into seven different sections, each with their own content and activities. This project is based on NASA Glenn’s Gaining Traction on Mars challenge and takes approximately 20 hours to complete.
Distance Learning: This project does not include a distance learning option and requires a 3D printer to complete, with the option of also using a laser cutter/engraver and vinyl cutter/printer.
Standards: This project aligns to Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, Next Generation Science Standards, and International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for sixth grade through twelfth grade.
21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Flexibility, Information Literacy
Plan and brainstorm ideas as a team.
Describe how meaning is embedded in logos and badges.
Recognize why team identity and team building are important to NASA.
Create a computer-aided design of a mission badge.
Construct a mars rover test track.
Describe the geology and environment of Mars and NASA’s Mars exploration missions.
Compute speed, velocity, and acceleration.
Determine the effect of gear size and wheel diameter on rover speed and velocity.
Design experiments to collect data and compare actual results to expected results.
Describe different types of gears, gear ratios, and torque.
Determine the effects of the coefficient of friction on rover velocity and mobility.
Design gears to drive the rover at a specific target velocity.
Create a computer-aided design of rover wheels and gears.
Evaluate wheel and gear prototypes and identify improvements.
Apply the engineering design process.
Demonstrate how grades and angle of incline affect the design of a vehicle.
Create a topographical map and chart a course for the rover.
Use and share makerspace equipment safely.