NASA Small Steps to Giant Leaps

The NASA Office of STEM Engagement is excited to announce a new middle school student initiative to get your students excited about NASA missions and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related fields!  Our office is launching a new pilot called Small Steps to Giant Leap focusing on the future of NASA aeronautics innovation and the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Aircraft (QueSST). Through this pilot multiple activities will be offered, including:

  • Three educational videos including an overview on the history of the X-Planes, informational lesson on what is a sonic boom, and an instructional lesson on how sound travels.
  • Two classroom activity demonstration videos with one page activity guides.
    • Senses of Sound – In this activity, students will engage in a series of demonstrations using a constructed amplifier that illustrates the several principles of sound. Students will learn about motion, forces, transfer of energy, and interactions of energy and matter.
    • Sound Effects- In this activity, students learn about the properties of sound waves and measure results by first constructing a set of speakers to amplify sound and then designing a device that will change the sound waves and reduce noise levels.
  • Student and Educator Professional Development Badges focusing on the principals of sound and the X-59 QueSST.
    • Digital badges are an online learning tool that allows lifelong learners, both students and educators, to demonstrate new knowledge and understandings. These badges will engage learners on the basic principles of sound and NASA Missions.
  • Citizen Science Challenge for students to collect noise level data across the U.S.
    • In this challenge students measure the loudness of the ambient noise or noise pollution around where they live and upload it to NASA through a Google Form. Scientists and engineers working on the X-59 will use the data collected by citizen scientists around the country to answer the question: “how quiet is quiet enough when it comes to aviation noise?
    • If you are interested in participating in one or more of these activities please respond to the google form located at to be placed on the interested pilot evaluator list