Ascent: 50 Seconds to MECO

All systems go! With a video and a Google Earth tour as background, pairs investigate two graphs. The graphs display acceleration vs. time and velocity vs. time of a space shuttle launch. Using graphing calculators, the pairs take a closer look at the 50 seconds prior to main engine cutoff. They compare the data from the graphs to data they generate using the Google Earth tour.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Work with the class to interpret less complex graphs prior to the lesson
  • Discuss the relationship between acceleration and velocity
Classroom Considerations

  • Ascent-Trajectory Tour file requires Google Earth to run

  • Uses real data of a space shuttle launch
  • The activity provides opportunitities to access the information in multiple representations: graph, table, and equation

  • Worksheet does not provide independent practice