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Five Fun STEM Activities to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11

Graphic for Apollo 11 space mission

By Josh Ence, Engineering Education Technology Specialist

In the summer of 1969, NASA launched the Apollo 11 space mission from Kennedy Space Center. Four days after launch, Neil Armstrong (Mission Commander) and Edwin (“Buzz”) Aldrin (Lunar Module Pilot) were the first two men to walk on the moon.

As a former physics and engineering teacher, I know that incorporating current events and hands-on activities into the classroom is an excellent way to engage students. This anniversary gives educators an opportunity to incorporate past, present, and future events into timely activities.

Celebrate the Apollo Landing with Vernier

We encourage you to celebrate the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with these hands-on STEM activities. Each activity simulates a task, obstacle, or concept that NASA faced to successfully land on the moon—such as coding a lunar lander or designing a shock absorber system.

Five Fun Activities and Resources

  1. Lunar Lander Scratch Game

    In this coding activity, students use the block-based coding in Scratch 3 to build a lunar lander game with custom sprites and stages. Students have the option of controlling their lander with the arrow keys on their keyboard or with a Go Direct® Force and Acceleration sensor and the built-in Vernier extension.

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  2. Earth-Moon Activity

    Students complete this activity to help explore the distance between Earth and the moon and compare their sizes.

    GET THE ACTIVITY

  3. Touchdown

    In this activity, students design and build a system to absorb the impact of landing while investigating gravity and motion.

    GET THE ACTIVITY

  4. Robotic Arm Activity

    To complete this activity, students use the engineering process to design, build, and test a robotic arm to move items to simulate excavation in space.

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  5. Roving on the Moon

    In this activity, students use the engineering process to create their own rubber-band-powered rover. Using basic supplies such as cardboard, pencils, and rubber bands, they build rovers to travel on the surface of the moon.

    GET THE ACTIVITY

Want to Learn More?

Going to the moon was an incredible undertaking and represents one type of problem engineers often tackle. Utilize this milestone anniversary as an opportunity for your students to practice their coding and engineering skills.

Read more about NASA and their celebration of the Apollo 11 mission.

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