In Telecommunications in Education News, vol 8, #1, published by ISTE, a cool project called “Houston…We Have a Problem” was implemented by linking schools in southern California, Hawaii and Maine via e-mail.
To solve the problem one school functions as Mission Control while others simulate functions in the Apollo capsule. They are given space-specific tools, e.g., a nuclear fuel cell, and compete to reach home the fastest. (And, you will recall, speed was critical to the lives of the astronauts so let’s agree that this model is a “good” competition). This project is also very authentic in its requirement for coordination between Mission Control and the capsule itself.
Similar hands-on simulations can spur learning in your class or school.