STEM Challenge: Drag Device / Parachute

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STEM Challenge: Drag Device / Parachute

4.25

Subjects: Engineering Design, Applied Math, Physical Science

Grades: 4th - 10th 

Resource Type: Stage 2 - Engineering Design Challenge

Teaching Duration: 3 hours

Total Pages: 23

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This engaging STEM challenge is a fun way to incorporate the engineering design process into your classroom or afterschool program! Students use the engineering design process and explore the forces of gravity and air resistance to design a drag device to slow down a payload. This challenge uses a ping pong ball to represent a rover landing on Mars. The rover must remain inside an uncovered cup during drop and impact testing. 


This hands-on activity is an engaging design challenge that allows students to work in teams, apply the engineering design process, and connect math topics to real-world applications. As a student-driven assignment, the purpose of the teacher is to act as a facilitator. You will provide the structure to the project, but students will take an active role in designing and building a device to deposit a rover into the lunar crater. Our students have loved this activity, and we know yours will too! 

  • Detailed teachers guide with links to resources
  • Student handouts to guide them through the design process
  • Student recording sheet for each step of the process
  • Math connection problems include average and speed calculations, surface area, and unit conversions.