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Aerospace Engineering (PLTW)

Course Description

The Aerospace Engineering course propels students’ learning in the fundamentals of atmospheric and space flight. As they explore the physics of flight, students bring the concepts to life by designing an airfoil, propulsion system, and rockets. They learn basic orbital mechanics using industry-standard software. They also explore robot systems through projects such as remotely operated vehicles. 

Grade Level(s): 10th-12th Grades

Aerospace Engineering is a Project Lead the Way course, taught by Kirkwood teachers with PLTW curriculum and resources.  Curriculum for each subject area is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, which align closely with Missouri Learning Standards for Science.  The PLTW Aerospace Engineering Course Outline can be viewed HERE.

Course-Level Scope & Sequence (Units &/or Skills)

Unit 1: Introduction to Aerospace

The goal of this unit is to get students excited about aerospace engineering while providing a foundation of knowledge related to flight. In this unit, students explore the rich history of aerospace achievement that advanced the industry.  Students are introduced to the physics that allows flight within the atmosphere and the systems which provide safe coordination for aircraft.

Unit 2: Aerospace Design

The goal of this unit is for students to learn about factors which affect aircraft design. Students develop knowledge and skills in this unit through the use of software design, simulation tools, and hands-on construction of composites.

Unit 3: Space

The goal of this unit is for students to focus on space-related concepts defined in aerospace engineering. Students will learn about the governance of space and the impact of exploration of space. Students learn orbital mechanics and apply these concepts to modeling orbiting systems with software used by aerospace engineers.

Unit 4: Alternative Applications

The goal of this unit is for students to consider applications of aerospace concepts beyond the design of aircraft and spacecraft and to explore career opportunities in the field of aerospace engineering. Students simulate a progression of operations to explore a planet. Students build and operate a remote sensing model to measure physical terrain similar to the satellite overflight of an unexplored planet. Students transform the data into a topographical map that students will use to plan an autonomous planetary rover mission.