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Design Challenge: How do you keep things from getting too hot?
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Design Challenge: How do you keep things from getting too hot?

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Short Description: Part of the "Staying Cool" education unit which investigates how MESSENGER can study Mercury without being damaged by the harsh high-temperature, high-radiation environment; in this activity, students design, build and test a model of MESSENGER and a sunshade.

Topic: Far Ranging Robots

Grade Level: K-4, 5-8, 9-12

Body: Sun, Mercury

Mission: MESSENGER (Mercury)

Science Education Standards:

National Science Education Standards

Science and Technology -- Content Standard E

Grades K-4
UNDERSTANDINGS ABOUT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

  • People have always had problems and invented tools and techniques (ways of doing something) to solve problems. Trying to determine the effects of solutions helps people avoid some new problems.
  • Scientists and engineers often work in teams with different individuals doing different things that contribute to the results. This understanding focuses primarily on teams working together and secondarily, on the combination of scientist and engineer teams.
  • Tools help scientists make better observations, measurements, and equipment for investigations. They help scientists see, measure and do things that they could not otherwise see, measure and do.

Grades 5-8
UNDERSTANDINGS ABOUT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

  • Scientific inquiry and technological design have similarities and differences. Scientists propose explanations for questions about the natural world, and engineers propose solutions relating to human problems, needs and aspirations. Technological solutions are temporary; technologies exist within nature and so they cannot contravene physical or biological principles; technological solutions have side effects; and technologies cost, carry risks, and provide benefits.
  • Science and technology are reciprocal. Science helps drive technology, as it addresses questions that demand more sophisticated instruments and provides principles for better instrumentation and technique. Technology is essential to science, because it provides instruments and techniques that enable observations of objects and phenomena that are otherwise unobservable due to factors such as quantity, distance, location, size, and speed. Technology also provides tools for investigations, inquiry, and analysis.
  • Perfectly designed solutions do not exist. All technological solutions have trade-offs, such as safety, cost, efficiency, and appearance. Engineers often build in back-up systems to provide safety. Risk is part of living in a highly technological world. Reducing risk often results in new technology.
  • Technological designs have constraints. Some constraints are unavoidable, for example, properties of materials, or effects of weather and friction; other constraints limit choices in the design, for example, environmental protection, human safety, and aesthetics.

Grades 9-12
UNDERSTANDINGS ABOUT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

  • Science often advances with the introduction of new technologies. Solving technological problems often results in new scientific knowledge. New technologies often extend the current levels of scientific understanding and introduce new areas of research.
  • Creativity, imagination and a good knowledge base are all required in the work of science and engineering.
  • Science and technology are pursued for different purposes. Scientific inquiry is driven by the desire to understand the natural world, and technological design is driven by the need to meet human needs and solve human problems. Technology, by its nature, has a more direct effect on society than science because its purpose is to solve human problems, help humans adapt, and fulfill human aspirations. Technological solutions may create new problems. Science, by its nature, answers questions that may or may not directly influence humans. Sometimes scientific advances challenge people's beliefs and practical explanations concerning various aspects of the world.

Source: MESSENGER


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Last Updated: 1 Jul 2014