Mission to Mars is a cross curricular experience created in order to provide the students with an opportunity to combine the disciplines from all of their curricular areas in order to solve the particular problem set, establishing a human colony on Mars, and use technology by way of a 15 minute PowerPoint presentation to present their plan to their peers as well as a panel of judges made up of teachers and students of other grade levels.
The problem requires students to research the problems associated with sending humans to the planet Mars, keeping them alive across the distance of space and combating the harsh climate of the planet when they arrive. They must:
· plan their trip,
· practice growing plants in a variety of substrates,
· choose and organize their crew,
· establish a functional society with laws and social order,
· design a functional colony in which they can survive,
· communicate their progress with their sponsoring organization,
· and journal about a particular set of experiences they encounter during the process of the trip.
During the course of the project they will create the following artifacts:
· A journal
· A population graph
· A plant grown in a soil alternative substrate
· A flag, anthem, and governing document
· Two letters of progress
· A scale human colony on Mars
· A fifteen minute PowerPoint presentation
During the course of the project students will perform the following tasks:
· Research related topics using provided materials including encyclopedias, books, news articles, and select internet sites.
· Choose a crew.
· Choose materials based on a strict set of limitations.
· Gather and record data.
· Deal with unexpected problems that arise in the project.
· Work to a schedule.
· Work with a small group.
· Present their project to a mixed audience of peers, teachers, and parents.
It is our hope that in completing this project, students will have an authentic and original learning experience that will remain with them for years to come. The task set before the students have been chosen for their challenge as well as their broad appeal to main stream, special needs, and English language learners together. It is our expectation that the students participating in the project will succeed at a higher level of academic success than if they were in a more traditional classroom environment.
The final assessment of the students success or failure in the project will be based equally on the following items:
Some problems that we will address before the beginning of the project for the next group of students are:
We are excited to be able to bring this project to the students of Royal Middle School. It is our sincere hope that the knowledge they gain the completion of this project will better prepare them for their future education and their life beyond high school.