The Orbital Mechanic – NGSS Aligned Version for Grades 6-8

For teachers of K6-8. Science and Engineering Practices in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In The Orbital Mechanic, a solar flare knocks a space probe off course endangering a costly mission. A simple solution comes just in time from an unlikely source to save the spacecraft. In this story, your students will learn how engineers use science, math and physics to get spaceships from Earth out to distant planets and beyond. Have them participate by asking questions that are provided in the story, examining models, interpreting data and engaging in communication. Have the students read the story out loud. Stop to ask the questions provided in italics. Take time to allow and encourage students “to ask questions of each other about the situations they read, the phenomena they observe, and the conclusions they draw.” Look for the NGSS pin in the story. This story has been mapped to the eight Science and Engineering Practices in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Lesson Plan available at

About Kenneth Richard Hardman

AncestorClips are very short stories about very real people. Each clip nurtures awareness of a time, a place, and the character of a man or woman who cultivated a path for our life. The reader feels the good, the obstacles, the happiness, the sadness, and the overcoming. They cheer us, make us resilient when challenged, give us purpose, and connect us to our multi-generational family. Each story is followed by reflections from the author and readers sharing how the story strengthened or inspired them. Ken Hardman is a son, a brother, a grandson, a great-grandson… He is also a husband, father and grand-father. Ken is a professional engineer, engineering mentor, technical writer, and associate technical fellow at a major aerospace company. He is a writer of engineering and family history stories. Please join Ken in reading, reflecting upon, or writing #AncestorClips
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