In an effort to foster hands-on, inquiry-based learning in science and math, the NASA Glenn Research Center has developed a series of interactive computer programs for students.
The programs are FREE to be used online or downloaded to your computer so that you can use them without being on-line.
There are also Beginner’s Guides for the different programs!
Here is a list of some of the programs available:
RangeGames: This program presents a variety of multiple choice math and physics problems involving aircraft performance. The student can choose from several different types of aircraft and must answer questions about the range, fuel usage, acceleration, velocity and location of the aircraft during take-off. RangeGames can record your answers for teacher evaluation, or you can just play for fun.
RocketModeler: This program lets you design and study the flight of a model rocket. You can vary the size of the rocket, the number of fins, and the materials used to construct the rocket. You can choose from a variety of available model rocket engines and test fly your rocket on the computer. The program computes the stability of your design and the flight trajectory. Output includes the maximum altitude which the rocket achieves. You can then compare the computed and actual performance of your model rocket.
KiteModeler: This program lets you design and study the flight of a kite. You can select from five different types of kites and then vary the length, width and types of materials used to construct the kite. You then trim the kite by setting the length of the bridle and tail and the position of the knot attaching the control line to the bridle. Finally, you test fly your kite on the computer by setting the wind speed and the length of control line. The program computes the aerodynamic forces, weight, and stability of your design and the shape of the control line as it sags under its own weight. Output includes the maximum altitude which the kite achieves. You can then compare the computed and actual performance of your kite design.
SoundWave: Using the SoundWave applet, students learn about sounds and how they are transmitted through the air. A “bug” emits a sound that is detected by a microphone. The sound waves are animated so that you can see how sound is transmitted. You can move the bug and vary his speed, which demonstrates the Doppler effect of frequency change for a moving sound source. You can make the bug move faster than the speed of sound to see the formation of Mach waves through the flow.
SoccerNASA: Using the SoccerNASA applet, students learn about aerodynamics by controlling the conditions of a soccer kick. Soccer players can “bend” or curve the ball if flight by putting a lot of spin on the ball. In the simulation, you can try to score on a penalty kick, a free kick, or a corner kick. You can vary the speed of the ball, spin on the ball, location on the field for a free kick, and location and weather conditions at the stadium. All of these conditions affect the flight of the ball. The program computes the three dimensional trajectory of the flight of the ball as you try to score a goal .
CurveBall: Using the CurveBall applet, students learn more about aerodynamics by controlling the conditions of a big league baseball pitch. You can vary the speed of the pitch, the spin on the ball, the release point, and the location of the stadium which affects the atmospheric conditions and the amount of curve on the ball. The program computes balls and strikes and tells you how far your pitch passes the center of the plate .
HitModeler: Using the HitModeler applet, students learn more about aerodynamics by controlling the flight conditions of a batted baseball. You can vary the speed and angle of the ball leaving the bat, the direction and strength of the wind, and the location and weather conditions at the stadium, which affects the atmospheric conditions and the amount of drag on the ball. The program computes the trajectory of the ball as you try to hit a home run.
Atmosphere Applet: This program lets you study how pressure, temperature, and density change through the atmosphere. You can study the atmosphere of the Earth or of Mars. Since speed of sound depends on the atmospheric gas and the temperature, you can also output the local speed of sound and the Mach number for a selected aircraft velocity. You can either input a selected altitude, or change altitude using an aircraft slider.