Mars exploration made strong advances in 2021. There were exciting missions to explore the Red Planet by several countries, such as China, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. The exploratory missions include analyzing the atmosphere, mapping out the planet’s magnetic field, searching for water and ice, and scouting the land and rock formations. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) provides insight into their Mars missions, allowing space exploration enthusiasts to share in the exhilaration of new discoveries. Teachers can help spark interest in space exploration for their students by incorporating robotics in their curriculum. While the overall focus is on Mars, skills such as coding and programming are also taught – skills that are in demand for jobs in the STEM fields.
To support teachers in their quest for hands-on, standards-driven curriculum to excite students about Mars missions, ShareSpace Education – a key program of the Aldrin Family Foundation – has partnered with Boxlight to create a ‘space exploration’ bundle complete with the MyBot robotics system, a giant Mars map, and easy-to-follow lessons. Below is just a sampling of lessons available through MyStemKits, an online platform for STEM lessons, activities, teachers guides, and design challenges:
- Big Red Planet Tour (Grade 4) - Students will plan a tour of Mars, the Big Red Planet, in this interdisciplinary activity in which they work in collaborative groups to plan a route, write a script, and create marketing materials.
- Mars Mission Planning (Grades 4-6) - In teams, students will explore the topography on Mars using the ShareSpace Giant Mars Map. Teams will map and justify locations based on topographic features including an exploration of how water and geoscience processes impact both the final landform and the minerals found at various places.
- Landing on Mars (Grades 4-6) - Student teams will learn about how to travel to Mars has been portrayed in the popular media and in movies, comparing this to reality. Teams will also begin to understand what has been learned through past Mars exploration missions, then use the Giant Mars Map to search potential sites and options for harvesting water on Mars.
- Moving Mars Rocks (Grades 6-8) - Students will investigate Newton’s Laws of Motion using a student-engineered attachment to the MyBot, programming their robot to push rocks of varying masses. They will analyze data generated, construct graphs, solving equations, and evaluating scientific concepts such as inertia, acceleration, and force.
- Layers of Detail – Martian Landscape (Grade 6) - Using the Giant Mars Map, students will plot out and identify Martian landforms. They must program their MyBot to collect topographic data from a color-coded map and use the data to evaluate the landforms mapped. Students will also compare landforms on Mars with those on Earth to gain a deeper understanding of the scale of Martian topography. Watch the video for the programming procedure for this activity:
- Establishing Mars Research Stations (Grades 4-8) - In this project-based learning activity, students will form a mission organization to create and execute a plan for establishing Mars Research Stations (MRS). The activity requires that students place MRS in scientific and logistically strategic locations.
Providing students with topical content that potentially sparks their interest in STEM learning is essential as we move towards a future of quickly advancing technologies. By boosting opportunities for creative thinking and problem solving, the MyBot and ShareSpace bundles are the perfect, turnkey solution for STEM education that is rigorous, interactive, and fun!
For more information on the Mimio MyBot and ShareSpace Giant Mars Map bundle and/or request a demo, go to boxlight.com/mimio-mybot-educational-robotics-system-giant-moon-mars-maps.
What is ShareSpace Education? Watch the video:
Boxlight has award-winning solutions that can be customized to fit the needs of any classroom. Learn more at www.boxlight.com.