Teamwork in Aerospace
Subject Area: Science and Technology
Grade Level: 6-12
Apply the concept of force and inertia to optimize the
flight performance of a glider.
- Technology Research Tools - Select and apply
technology tools for research, information analysis,
problem-solving, and decision-making in content learning.
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- Routinely and efficiently use on-line information resources
to meet needs for collaboration, research, publications,
communications, and productivity.
After completing the exercise, the student will have
a more thorough understanding of the parts and operation of the
aerospace industry and will have the experience of working in a diverse
engineering team to produce a desired outcome.
Working in teams is one of the most fundamental, yet difficult, lessons to be
learned by students of all ages. The aerospace industry is composed of research
institutions, aircraft and engine production companies, and end-users including the airlines
and the military. Each of these elements require teamwork to be successful.
To provide students with an early
exposure to team dynamics, the NASA Glenn Research Center has developed
the following teamwork activity.
Students are grouped into "companies" of four or five students
that must produce a
design to win a competition for a "contract" from NASA. The winner of the competition is
determined by a fly-off among the competing companies.
The activity is performed in a one hour classroom session, using rather inexpensive materials
(8 1/2 x 11 paper, paper clips, tape, ..) A key element of the activity is that only one airplane
can be submitted by each company, so the members of the company must learn to work together
to produce the best design and flight results. Because of the limited time, the students
work in a stressful environment. The main outcome of the activity is not the aerodynamics
of the glider, or the winner of the competition, but a careful examination of the processes
used by the students and the degree to which the companies and the individual students
worked as a team.
A Power Point Presentation of slides is provided which
details the steps to be used in the activity and some questions to be used to guide the
discussion after the fly-off.
Teachers proceed to the activity.
Students will be evaluated on the
degree of participation in the team activity.
You will learn to work in a diverse engineering team
to produce a desired outcome.
Submitted by: Tom Benson, NASA Glenn Research Center,