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Exploring the Extreme
High Performance Activities in Math, Science, and Technology - Grades K-8

Controlled flight by humans was attempted early in the last millenium but only mastered for heavier-than-air vehicles in the last century. Tremendous progress was achieved in the twentieth century in aircraft performance and mission capability through research in flight controls, aircraft stability, and propulsion. Modern technology was applied to aeronautics in the last century as aggressively as in other fields, such as medicine, communications, and geosciences. So many advances have been made, that today the demands of performance and maneuverability for many advanced aircraft designs require extensive use of computers to aid the pilot in controlling flight.

With some simple inexpensive materials, you can mount an exciting and productive unit for children that incorporates science, mathematics, and technology education. The many activities contained in this teaching guide emphasize hands-on involvement, prediction, data collection and interpretation, teamwork, and problem solving. The guide also contains background information about aeronautical research that can help students learn how airplanes fly.

Download the units (all files are PDF):

Download the Exploring the Extreme Poster (pdf - 5 pages - 128 K)

Download the entire Exploring The Extreme (pdf - 88 pages - 1.5 MB) or download the sections you want below....

Introductory Materials (pdf 168 K)

  • Title
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • How to use this Guide

F-15 ACTIVE Research Program History and Technology (pdf 228 K)

Matrices (pdf 44 K)

  • Mathematics Standards
  • Science Standards
  • Science Process Skills

Activities for Grades K-4 (pdf 316 K)

  • Lesson 1: Finding the Center of Gravity Using Rulers
  • Lesson 2: Finding the Center of Gravity Using Plumb Lines
  • Lesson 3: Changing the Center of Gravity Using Moment Arms

Activities for Grades 5-8 (pdf 600 K)

  • Lesson 1: Jet Propulsion
  • Lesson 2: Vectoring
  • Lesson 3: Center of Gravity, Pitch, Yaw
  • Lesson 4: Fuel Efficiency

Appendices (pdf 76K)

  • Glossary
  • NASA Educator Resource Center Network
  • Evaluation Reply Card


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Last modified 04 November 2003