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Educational Level:
Middle school  
Learning Time:
2 to 4 hours  
SMD Forum - Primary:
Planetary Science  
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The MISSIONMaker program uses art and the making experience to investigate NASA mission design, engineering and space exploration. Using common materials, students build a rover that incorporates six simple machines. The building instructions... (View More)

This multi-phased learning package progresses from guided engineering to an open mission-design challenge. Each step is scaffolded and includes easy-to-implement teaching tools, lessons and art activities. Learners, working in collaborative teams,... (View More)

Explore simulated remote sensing techniques to observe a clay model of a planet. Observations are done from the perspective of a telescope at Earth’s surface, a telescope above Earth’s atmosphere, and from closer proximity to the planet in a... (View More)

Students analyze and interpret the accompanying large-format images of Mars taken by NASA’s Mars Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera. The analysis involves identifying geologic features, calibrating the size of those features, and... (View More)

Students use the research topic questions generated in the earlier lesson entitled, “Mars Image Analysis,” to refine testable questions and develop hypotheses. The lesson is part of the Mars Education Program series; it models scientific inquiry... (View More)

Keywords: NSTA2013; MSIP
Audience: Elementary school, Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

This lesson plan uses the 5E learning cycle and is designed around an essential question: Why is the method you chose for landing your Rover on Mars the best one for your mission? The lesson objectives include: examine different methods for landing... (View More)

This lesson plan uses the 5E learning cycle and is designed around an essential question: How do I know when I've found important information in my reading? Learning objectives include: identify important details in informational texts; learn and or... (View More)

Keywords: Language arts

In this game, students use the accompanying "playing cards" to plan a mission to Mars. The mission must produce significant science returns while also meeting several constraints such as budget, mass and power. The lesson is part of the Mars... (View More)

Learners will construct a mock-up of planetary surface rover. They begin by exploring the importance of engineering in our society and work as a team to build a prototype of the team's rover using student science notebooks and team sketches as a... (View More)

Keywords: Spacecraft Design
Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: $5 - $10 per group of students

Learners will investigate probes and rovers to learn how they are built, learn about the propulsion, navigation, controls and daily handling of spacecraft, gather, and analyze data from multiple sources on the internet, and understand how rovers... (View More)

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