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Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • D&T
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

Investigate the James Webb Space Telescope

Examine the materials used on the James Webb Space Telescope in this free activity.

In this engaging STEM activity for KS3, we will delve into the groundbreaking technologies used in the construction of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), one of humanity’s most impressive space observatories.

As budding engineers, you will have the unique opportunity to investigate the engineered materials that make the JWST a marvel of modern engineering. Get ready to uncover the secrets behind the telescope’s incredible capabilities, discover the innovative materials that withstand the harsh conditions of space, and gain a deeper understanding of how scientific ingenuity allows us to peer into the universe’s farthest reaches.

Activity: Investigate the James Webb Space Telescope

In this activity, students will investigate an engineered material and share the results of their research with the class. This unit has a predominantly design & technology, and engineering focus, although it could be used in science. It could also be used as a main lesson or a research activity to develop an understanding of materials and their properties.

What is the James Webb Space Telescope?

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the largest and most powerful telescope ever to be launched into space. It is a monumental leap in space exploration, building on the legacy of the Hubble Space Telescope. The JWST is the next great space science observatory, with a primary mission to unravel the mysteries of the universe. It will address lingering questions and achieve groundbreaking revelations across all fields of astronomy.

With its powerful infrared telescope, the JWST can see much fainter and more distant objects than the Hubble Space Telescope, including stars shrouded in dust clouds, molecules in the atmospheres of other worlds, and light from the first stars and galaxies.

The JWST is equipped with a suite of cutting-edge instruments that will allow it to study the universe in unprecedented detail. These instruments will help us better understand the Solar System, the formation of stars and planets, and the evolution of galaxies. The JWST is a revolutionary telescope that will blaze new trails in exploration. It is already making headlines with its first images, and it is sure to continue to amaze us for years to come.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will be able to understand that materials can be selected for specific characteristics and purposes, they will be able to identify the properties of materials required for a particular function, and they will be able to explore a range of engineered materials, understanding why they are used.

The engineering context

The materials students will examine are used in the JWST or aerospace applications.

Download the free activity sheet below!

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable so that you can tailor them to your students and your schools’ needs.

The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, helpful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in the four devolved UK nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

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