Remote Sensing Beta Test – Engineering Context-Setting Activity: How Do Engineers and Scientists Work Together on NASA Missions?

Remote Sensing - Engineering P2 Front

Activity Timing

5 min. Introduction
25 min. Video and Card Game
5 min. Reflect

35 min. Total

Prep Snapshot

Prep Time: 30 min 

  • Be sure to watch the context setting video.
  • Invite a family or community member for this Activity. 
  • Copy question cards for each group of 4. 

P2 Educator Guide

P2 Engineering Notebook

This snapshot intended for quick reminders and is not a replacement of the guide. Be sure to use the guide for detailed preparation instructions and implementation scripts.


NASA: the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 

Remote: far away or distant 

Remote sensing: collecting information at a distance 

Sensing: collecting or becoming aware of information 

Remote Sensing Engineering Vocab List

21st Century Skills Connection

Collaboration, Critical Thinking

Habits of Mind

  • Apply science knowledge to problem solving. 
  • Investigate features and uses of tools. 

Activity Overview

Youth learn about the ways that scientists and engineers rely on each other during NASA missions by watching a video and use question cards to discuss the ways in which engineering design and develop technology that can help answer scientific questions. The youth NASA challenge is to design remote sensing devices for a mission to Mars. 

Guiding Question

How do scientists and engineers work together on a NASA mission to learn about another planet without going there?

Youth Will Do

  • Draw connections between questions asked by scientists and those asked by engineers. 

Youth Will Know

  • On NASA missions, engineers design technologies to help planetary scientists gather data to answer their questions. 
  • Remote sensing technologies gather data from a distance. 
  • Youth have a NASA engineering challenge to solve.

Videos Related to this Activity

Family Connections Story Prompt

Can you tell me a story about a technology or tool that made a big difference in your life?

Additional Resources

Connecting Across Activities

  • In the Engineering Prep activity, youth experienced the Engineering Design Process.
  • In this activity, youth explore how scientists and engineers work together and they learn the engineering challenge for the rest of the activities: to design remote sensing technologies for a NASA mission.
  • In Engineering Activity 1, they engineer a technology that gathers information by redirecting light.