Aliens, Planets and Nebulae! Mission 8 – Momentum on the Galactic Society Space Tracks

Mission: Momentum on the Galactic Society Space Tracks

Level(1-5): 1 (Design challenge)

Location: Any location – to be used in each Galactic Arm

Description: Every 5 Earth years there is an engineering challenge for the Galactic Society Space tracks.

Each team must design a space track towards a black hole. The black hole’s gravity will pull spherical race vehicles towards its center. The tracks are judged on 3 characteristics: Complexity, Uniqueness/Innovation, and Speed (not too fast or too slow).

MASS has sponsored each crew member to create a design. Models can be created for marbles. They cannot exceed 6 feet in height. Paper, legos, furniture, dominoes, blocks or any other materials for a marble run can be used. There is no limit to the area used for the track. A demonstration is required.

Assignment: Crew members will design a marble run. Videos can be created or demonstrations showing the run. Part of the assignment is to calculate the average time it takes for a run to complete. Use a minimum of 5 test runs to find the average. With more samples students can explore more statistics (box plot, median, Q1,Q2, range, etc)

Note: This is a good time for the facilitator to add conditions for solutions to incorporate other subjects (science, history, writing).

Ability Point Potential (rough rubric):

  • 1 Ability point can be earned for good effort marble runs. Uniqueness, complexity, and speed will all be judged on a scale of 1-5 for each category.
  • 2 Ability points will be given for computing the average run time correctly
  • 2 Ability points will be given if a student can create another metric to measure on their run and show their analysis.
  • 1 Bonus point for a flash fiction Galactic track story that includes an aspect of math being learned.

Facilitator Notes:

  • Encourage learners to think outside the box (no plastic premade runs if they aren’t being modified).
  • Paper roller coasters are allowed.

Mission 8 Wrap-up

Once learners are ready, have them present their Galactic tracks.

Once solutions are finalized, award ability points.

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