Journey to Inspire, Innovate, and Discover
Overview and Rationale
The purpose of the PBIU project is to investigate
the physical science laws and standards by developing
the students’ Lunar Thinking abilities. By following
the process of problem-based learning (PBL), students
will be able to investigate and explore the concepts
of physical science. Even though the students will
be exploring the physical characteristics of the
lunar environment, the students must first understand
the application of the physical science laws to
The website has been divided into three modules,
one for each area including elementary school,
middle school, and the high school. Embedded within
the website are professional-development programs
for educators at all levels.
Using the PBL process, students can explore the
challenges that confront the NASA scientists as
they explore the lunar environment and the application
of the physical science concepts and laws.
Importance of PBL
Problem-based learning (PBL) allows student to
explore the challenges and essential questions
that are vital to the development of Lunar Thinking
as it relates to the lunar environment. By exploring,
the essential questions that are found within the
PBL meet the problem scenario; students can investigate
and explore the laws of physical science.
To understand the environment of Earth, we can
apply the laws of physical science to the moon.
Lunar Thinking uses the understandings of the Earth’s
physical science laws to explore the lunar environment.
The Earth and the moon are similar in many ways
and vastly different in many other ways. Our understanding
of Earth’s environment can often be strengthen
by examining how objects are affected by the lunar
Lunar Thinking addresses the application of the
understanding of Earth’s environment to the lunar
environment. Students will quickly discover that
many of the day-to-day assumptions that dictate
our daily routines and our working lives on Earth,
will not apply to the lunar environment.The Earth
and the moon are similar in many ways. However,
they are vastly different. To achieve the understanding
of the concepts and skills found within the physical
science standards, students need to apply their
understanding of Earth to a different environment
such as the moon.
NASA scientists spend their careers using the process
of inquiry to understand the physical laws of science.
Scientists will design experiments that will explore
the natural phenomenon and compare how it differs
between the Earth and the Moon. By formulating
essential questions, scientists can begin to understand
the lunar environment and ultimately the environment
of Earth. Simple experiments that we understand
on earth will act differently when conducted on
the Moon because of the different characteristics
found on the Moon. Using their Lunar Thinking,
students can identify those differences.
Lunar Thinking Flow Chart
Understanding and Misconceptions
Understanding is important to the application
of the physical science laws. All too often, misconceptions
will arise that will result from the student difficulty
to understand the lunar environment. Misconceptions
can result from misinterpretations about the lunar
environment and the application of the physical
laws of science. Misconceptions can indicate the
misunderstandings that are held by the students.
Simple experiments that we use to understand the
Earth, can help identify and clarify those misconceptions
regarding the challenges of living and working
on the Moon.
Introduction to the Website
By 2020, NASA plans to return to the Moon with
new technologies and a new spacecraft designed
to carry additional astronauts and with goals to
explore and investigate the lunar environment.
To accomplish these goals, we need to inspire our
next generation of astronauts, scientists, and
Before we can return to the Moon, we have many
challenges that we must face. Even though the lunar
environment is similar to the environment found
on earth, there are still a great deal of differences.
Because of the lack of atmosphere and the reduced
gravity environment, objects will act differently
in particular those laws governing forces and motion.