Mathematician as a space career

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Designing of satellite and rocket paper models 

Education level: Secondary school

Time: 3 hours

Cost: Low 

Brief description 

Students are invited to apply simple but important mathematical concepts to design a space mission, namely to calculate the proper dimensions of bodies involved in the launching of a satellite. 


  • To learn how to calculate the dimensions of space components (rocket stages, satellites, etc.).
  • To build paper models after student’s own calculations.
  • To discover how Mathematics is an useful tool in order to pursue a space career.

Learning objectives 

Students will be able:

  • To recognize and describe some important objects involved in space activities, such as rockets and their stages, and satellites;
  • To fnd mathematical equations which describe the aforementioned bodies;
  • To perform mathematical calculations (dimensions, volumes and areas) needed when designing space missions;
  • To correlate some concepts and information in order to properly design the components of a rocket or design a satellite;
  • To create paper models of a rocket mission following their own calculations.


  • Check that all objectives are reached.
  • Ask the student to identify all the main parts of a rocket, including its stages and payload (a satellite, for instance).
  • Ask the student to calculate the volume and transverse area of a satellite following a mathematical model, and to correlate them with the dimensions of a given stage of a rocket.
  • Ask the student to build a paper model of the rocket and its payload following her/his own calculations.
14 - 19
Art der Lernaktivität
Lesson plan