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Rescue Mission Game

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    NCTM Illuminations

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Rescue Mission Game

In this math meets physics game, learners pretend they are pilots of rescue helicopters and must fly their helicopters to the top of a mountain to rescue lost hikers. Learners first explore the four forces of flight: lift, drag, thrust, and weight. Before playing the game, learners conduct a probability experiment with spinners and record their results in tally tables and bar graphs. They then use their findings to select spinners with the greatest probability of helping them win the game. In a portion of the game, learners use ordered pairs to plot points on the coordinate plane to show their flight path.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Game, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
    • Technology
      • Transportation
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
      • Probability
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
    • Problem Solving
    • Reasoning and Proof
    • Representation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Games
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, ©2008

Funding Source:

  • Thinkfinity/Verizon Foundation


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