When:Saturday, October 31
Where:Online (see event details)
Target Audience:General Audience
Today, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is known as NASA's premier center for designing, building, and operating spacecraft that journey throughout the solar system, touch down on other worlds, and reveal mysteries of the Earth and universe beyond. But that wasn't always the case. When JPL was founded in the 1930s by a group of Caltech students and rocket enthusiasts, the laboratory was a test-bed for some of the earliest rocketry experiments – thus the name Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The group's first successful rocket test happened on Oct. 31, 1936, marking what is now considered JPL's official founding date.
Visit the links below to learn more about JPL's history, how it transitioned from rocketry to space exploration, and about a team of "human computers" who played a pivotal role in the laboratory's success. Plus, discover standards-aligned STEM lessons and activities related to the history of space exploration.
Teachable Moments: When Computers Were Human
Learn about the history of JPL and the important but little-known role women played in the early days of space exploration, then try a math lesson inspired by their work.
Teachable Moments: Explorer 1 Anniversary Marks 60 Years of Science in Space
The fascinating history of America’s first space satellite serves as a launching point for lessons in engineering design, motion and flight, and Earth science.
Lesson Collection: Rockets
Explore a collection of standards-aligned STEM lessons all about rockets.
Educator Guide: Let's Go to Mars! Calculating Launch Windows
Students use advanced algebra concepts to determine the next opportunity to launch a spacecraft to Mars.
Time 30 mins - 1 hr
Educator Guide: Build a Satellite
Students will use the engineering design process to design, build, test and improve a model satellite intended to investigate the surface of a planet.
Time > 2 hrs