Through a variety of audiovisuals, Lower School students document their class experiences.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Apollo 13 & Engineering Design: Thinking Outside of the Box (Literally)

We learned about Apollo 13 and how the Lead Flight Director, Mr. Gene Kranz, helped save the mission. We watched the Apollo 13 movie about the astronauts James Lovell, Fred Haise and John Swigert. Pablo’s favorite part of the movie was when the astronauts almost ran out of clean oxygen, because he learned how to solve a problem like that in a spacecraft. The solution was to make the air filter from the Service Module fit the air filter in the Lunar Module (they were different shapes), and they called this invention the “mailbox”.

          After that we did an engineering project, just like the “mailbox” design, and we had to make two different shapes fit together. We knew if our individual designs worked when we were able to get a ball to lift up, by blowing into a tube that we made (see picture).  This project helped us learn about Engineering Design. First our teacher gave us a question (make two different shapes fit together), then we drew our ideas, we made our ideas, and then we tested them. If our design didn’t work, and the air didn’t go through the tubes and lift the ball, then we had to try again. Emilio had to keep re-designing his idea like 15 TIMES until it worked, BUT he never gave up…just like when Gene Kranz said that, “failure is not an option!”

At the end of this project we wrote letters to Mr. Kranz and Lauren’s mom is going to mail them for us! We hope he reads our letters and writes us back!