Sensemaking is actively trying to figure out how the world works (science) or how to design solutions to problems (engineering). Students do science and engineering through the science and engineering practices. Engaging in these practices necessitates that students be part of a learning community to be able to share ideas, evaluate competing ideas, give and receive critique, and reach consensus. Whether this community of learners is made up of classmates or family members, students and adults build and refine science and engineering knowledge together.
Elementary school students, as scientists, investigate forces and motion to answer the driving question: How did they get the James Webb Space Telescope into space? Students observe images of Jupiter taken with a telescope on Earth and with the JWST. Students watch a video of the rocket carrying the James Webb Space Telescope being launched into space. Next, they generate initial questions about how the JWST was launched into space. Finally, students develop an initial model explaining how the large payload was launched into space using their ideas about gravity and forces.
This lesson plan is lesson one of the Launching the James Webb Space Telescope Unit. The unit was created in collaboration with AIAA and Estes Education.
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