These resources have been reviewed and selected by STEM Learning’s team of education specialists for factual accuracy and relevance to teaching STEM subjects in UK schools.

Surviving Space Temperatures

When the James Webb Space Telescope is deployed it will have one side which continually faces the Sun and is warmed by the Sun, and one side which does not face the sun. The cold side of JWST houses scientific instruments which work better if they are at a low temperature, so a sunshield is used to keep the equipment as cool as possible. This activity allows students to explore how heat reflecting materials are used to achieve this, by reflecting the sun’s rays and preventing the warming of the instruments. They are set a challenge of designing a sunshield that will give at least a 30 degree Celsius drop in temperature over a distance of 6cm. 

Curriculum links:

Make - select from and use a wider, more complex range of materials, components and ingredients, taking into account their properties

Evaluate - investigate new and emerging technologies - understand developments in design and technology, its impact on individuals, society and the environment, and the responsibilities of designers, engineers and technologists

Technical knowledge - understand and use the properties of materials and the performance of structural elements to achieve functioning solutions


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