KerbalEdu Mission Library

Construction 101

Ages 7-16
Published by TeacherGaming LLC  •  Posted 1756 days ago
If you have no idea what you're doing, begin here. This mission teaches you how to construct, fly and (hopefully) land a vessel. Best of luck!
Engineering - design, basic controls
Average: 5 (2 votes)
Mission Details and Requirements
Created by: MikaelTG
Mission version: 1.1
Supported KerbalEdu Versions: 0.90.0e532, 1.0.2e615
Mission Type: Story, Experiment
Tags: Beginner, 101


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Additional Material



Introduction: This assignment is designed for primary school physics class. It is designed to familiarize the students with constructing vehicles in KerbalEdu. The goal is to teach the barest necessities of construction with missions that are set within KerbalEdu. The students will also learn how their design choices affect functionality and gain hands-on experience with designing solutions to a particular problem. Furthermore, they will take their first vehicles out for a quick spin.

Grade of Student(s): Primary School 3-6

Objectives: Students will be able to:

  • Design and evaluate solutions to particular problems and improve the designs based on experience

  • Demonstrate understanding of designing functional vehicles in KerbalEdu  

Timeline: 45-60 minutes

Materials: KerbalEdu installed on the student computers, lesson plan & control scheme-pdf.

Grouping: Students work in pairs or small groups on a computer. This enables different roles for the students and enhances collaboration: one in charge of piloting, one writing down the observations.

Learning Activities:

Building a rocket Assign the students to find out what parts a rocket needs in order to make a successful flight.

  • Demonstrate If you have a projector, open KerbalEdu and go to Vehicle Assembly Building and show how to attach parts. Now, instruct the students to open the game on their computers and select "Kerbonaut 101" scenario. Alternatively, you can paste them this link and tell them to hit launch:
  • Instruct Their first task is to is to find out what it takes to build a feasible rocket. Tell them to write down their observations after each flight to report to the rest of the group after testing.
    • The scenario includes some instructions but you can give them some design principles and tips yourself: 
      • you will need
        • a command pod for the crew
        • a fuel tank and a thruster
        • a parachute
      • to build
        • select items from left side menu and move them to the building area on the right
        • attach parts from the green dots at their end
  • once finished, to go to Launch pad by clicking on the green rocket on the upper right corner.
  • To test the the vessel, we need to figure out how to control it. Once a student is done building, they go to launch pad. The controls are depicted in the attached file but you can choose to let them experiment and fill in a control scheme yourselves. The core idea is to get a hang of accelerating, deceleating and turning the vessel in all directions.
  • After each flight, the students will be prompted to write down their observations and to go back for another flight.
  • Discuss What parts did you need? Is it enough to have the right parts? What about the weight?

Build a golf cart Your kerbonaut (hopefully) made it alive! To reward our kerbonaut, lets build him a golf cart. You could just buy stock-carts but that wouldn’t be cool enough for a kerbonaut, would it? So let’s tune one to make it worthy of a kerbonaut!

  • Instruct Exit back to the Space Center. This time, instead of Vehicle Assembly Building, switch to Spaceplane Hangar. The difference between the two is that the vehicles constructed in Vehicle Assembly Building are upright whereas vehicles from Spaceplane Hangar are assembled laterally. In the "Kerbonaut: 101" scenario you can get to spaceplane hangar simply by pressing the button that becomes available after a successful flight.

  • Load a premade golf cart. To load a cart, click on the yellow load button on the top right corner.

  • Let the students tune it anyway they want and try it out on the runway. The same controls apply here. 

  • Ask them for a report on each vehicle: what did you add and to what effect. After you have completed the test runs, collect your design insights as a class. Write them down in your preferred location, be it on a blackboard or on a wiki.

Assessment: The students have been keeping logs of their test runs throughout the lesson. If they have been working from home or a recap is necessary, you can ask them to write a complete mission report of their activities.


Standards Alignment: Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)



Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.


Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.


Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.