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This material was developed for the Live From Mars project by Passport to Knowledge. Live From Mars was a precursor to Mars Team Online.


Teachers' Guide

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Activity B.2 "Where Next?"

Engage:

Share with your students this July 1996 press clip:

NASA Seeks Proposals for Mars Landing Sites
NASA's Office of Space Science plans to award this autumn as many as 15 grants of up to $20,000 per year for two years to university, industry and government groups that propose the most scientifically promising landing sites for the agency's Mars Surveyor Program ...which is intended to search for life and water sources on the red planet and increase understanding of the planet's volatile climate and history ...the grants are available for those missions to be launched after 2000. The studies NASA officials select will provide detailed geological maps of proposed landing sites, exploration strategy, the types of scientific data they expect to find at the site, and will include a description of rover or land transport required...

Space News, July 1-7, 1996

Explain/Explore

Passport to Knowledge is not suggesting that student teams compete with career scientists to propose fully detailed and budgeted plans for NASA's actual missions to Mars in the 21st. Century-- but we do suggest that an exciting Closing Activity, drawing on all dimensions of the Live From Mars Module, would be to invite students, working in teams, to research and write-up their suggested landing sites, scientific rationales and type of spacecraft for the "Next" Mars missions.

Note to teachers: this Activity also provides an extremely powerful way to assess the new learning which students will have gained from participation in the Module. Best done in Fall 1997, after what we hope will be Pathfinder's safe landing and successful primary mission, it's also possible to undertake the Activity at the end of the 1996-1997 school year: as indicated by the news clip quoted above, NASA's actual invitation went out in Fall '96, before MPF or MGS were even launched!

Procedure

PTK invites students to participate in two different ways, in two different mediums.

Print Only

If your class and school still lacks on-line access, have students research references in books, encyclopedias, newspapers, magazines, and CD-ROM's. Use the materials in this Guide and in the LFM videos as resources. Encourage students to make formal reports, with carefully thought-out rationales, compelling language, and, if possible, a budget generally comparable to those for MGS and MPF, scaled upward to reflect increasing size of rover, etc. After sharing your students' work with parents and others, please be sure to send some of the more interesting proposals to PTK (keep copies for yourself) In an era of "Net Days" and other special incentives from phone companies and others, consider ways to get on-line, then your students can take advantage of "peer review" (kids commenting from across America and around the world) and direct interaction with expert mentors.

With Internet Access

Just as Live From Mars began with an on-line collaborative activity, PTK will host an on-line discussion forum debate-lfm where students can interact with Mars experts to brainstorm, research and refine their missions plans. PTK will invite experienced Mars researchers to serve as on-line mentors: they'll make suggestions, and provide references. They'll respond to student input and point out the pro's and con's of sites and strategies. PTK will also provide links which include some of the actual sites proposed by career scientists to NASA, but we will encourage students to evaluate and debate the real proposals and make their own. Since this activity can only be done on-line, we will provide more information about it in late Spring 1997, after the second LFM program, which airs April 24th.

Suggested URLs

http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/marsland.html
http://cmex-www.arc.nasa.gov/ MarsTools/Mars_Cat/Mars_Cat.html


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