Remote Sensing: Activity – Engineering A3

Remote Sensing - Engineering A2 Front

Activity Timing

5 min. Introduction
10 min. Investigate
30 min. Mapping a Test Surface
10 min. Reflect

55 min. Total

Prep Reminder

The Educator Guide has a script, materials list, and prep directions. Be sure to have it open and ready to help guide you through every activity.

* Post the Engineering Design Process poster.
* Bundle a handful of straws together using a rubber band or craft foam and tape, to demonstrate how youth can keep the straws packed together in their model LiDAR device.
* Create a Materials Table with the materials listed on p. 41 of the Educator Guide.

Key Terms

LiDAR: (Light Detection And Ranging): A remote sensing technology that collects data from lasers to map the shape of a landscape

Remote Sensing Vocab List

Remote Sensing FAQs


EDP Steps Used In This Activity

Create, Investigate, Test


Youth use straws as a model for LIDAR and record information about a surface. Youth discuss limitations of the model.

Quick Tips

* Consider playing videos below for youth to review LiDAR.
* Encourage youth to try out different materials or combinations to keep the straws together.
* As as alternative to drawing, have groups trace the topography by using the shape of the straw tops held up to paper.

Videos Related to this Activity

Science Snippet: Build your content knowledge to help answer youth's questions.

End of Activity Engineering Reflection

Today we created, investigated, tested and improved model LiDAR devices. LiDAR is a remote sensing technology that uses light to determine the shape of a surface.

Key Take Away

We can determine the general shape and height of objects on a model surface using straws.

Did you know?

Some animals, such as bats and whales, have evolved the ability to remotely sense their surroundings using sonar, which relies on bouncing sound waves instead of light.