NASA: STEMonstration - Engineering Design: Trusses

The structure of the International Space Station relies heavily on a series of trusses engineered to withstand compression, tension, torsion and shear forces the station may encounter in low-Earth orbit.

In this episode, Expedition 55/56 Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold explains the significance of these resilient structures and the forces they are up against in microgravity.

Use the lesson plan that coincides with this video to emphasize the value of the engineering design process in your STEM classroom.

Classroom Connection: Engineering Design—Trusses

Grade Level: 6-8

Time Required: 50 minutes

Next Generation Science Standards:
Engineering Design: Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

Science Topics
Force (Tension), Physics, Pressure
Engineering Topics
Middle School, Educator
6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade
Descriptions of PDFs

Following this activity, students will be able to:
• Understand the importance of engineering design.
• Identify forces acting on a truss.
• Identify how the structural design of a truss will withstand
multiple forces acting on it.

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