Carolina® Heat Shield Classroom Kit


This kit was built for use with the Microsoft® Hacking STEM Project, Using Materials Science Engineering to Determine Heat Resistance.


Crew and cargo returning from the International Space Station need to be protected from the heat that is generated during the capsule’s descent. This materials science and engineering lesson plan begin with students exploring the properties of different heat shield construction materials. Then they run trials with samples to collect heat resistance data. Next, they feed their data into a model to simulate how well their capsule is protected during its descent.


This activity requires project instructions, technical requirements, and lesson plans from the Microsoft® Hacking STEM website, including:


Build and Learn
Students build a testing apparatus using thermistors and use it to test the thermal insulation of a variety of materials.


Connect Your Tools
Students connect their materials testing apparatus to a custom Excel® workbook with an Arduino® UNO or micro:bit microcontroller.


Visualize the Data
Using data visualizations in Excel®, students measure the heat shielding ability of several materials in a testing scenario. They then analyze their data using a capsule reentry simulation and recommend material for further testing.


Individual kit includes materials for 1 student station and takes 3 fifty-minute class periods.


The project requires materials from the Carolina® Arduino® Microcontroller Kit (item #770050) or the Carolina® micro:bit Microcontroller Kit (item #770055) and the Carolina® Tool Kit (item #770060). Please check the “What’s Included” tab for details.


Microsoft® Hacking STEM Projects are a collection of inquiry-driven, standards-aligned lesson plans that integrate visualizing data into existing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum. These hands-on activities engage students in computational and design thinking and situate them in solving real-world problems.

  • What’s included?

    • 3 Electrical Tape
    • 6 Paper Cups
    • 12 Female-to-Female Jumper Wires
    • 24 Male-to-Male Jumper Wires
    • 6 Resistors, 10k Ohm
    • 10 Thermistors, 10k Ohm
    • 3 Glass Samples
    • 3 Nylon Samples
    • 3 Aluminum Samples
    • 3 Brass Samples
    • 3 Acrylic Samples
    • 3 Wooden Sticks
    • 6 Rubber Bands


    Needed But Not Included:

    • 3 Hair Dryers
    • 6 Ring Stands with Clamp
    • 3 Hot Glue Guns
    • 3 Rulers
    • 3 Arduino® Uno or micro:bit Microcontrollers
    • 3 USB Cables Type A to Type B or Type A to Micro
    • 3 SparkFun micro:bit Breakouts

Additional information

Weight 1.5 kg
Dimensions 27 × 37 × 26 cm


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