This material was developed for the Live From Mars project
by Passport to Knowledge. Live
From Mars was a precursor to Mars Team Online.
A Unique Oportunity
|Live From Mars is an electronic field trip that can take
you and your students along on one of the most exciting scientific
adventures of this decade. But LFM also has the potential to make
significant contributions to your students' learning of, and attitude
towards science; advance your own professional growth through exposure
to cutting-edge knowledge and state-of-the-art technology, and boost
your school systems' effectiveness as a valuable launch pad for 21st
Ambitious thoughts? High-flying rhetoric? Another educational gimmick?
I think not. In fact, I have rearranged my Grade 6 science curriculum
over the past three years in order to implement previous Modules
from the Passport to Knowledge series. Live From Antarctica, Live
From the Stratosphere, and Live From the Hubble Space Telescope
were all unique, and did not always precisely parallel my course
of study. So how was I able to rationalize to students, parents
and administrators the "fine tuning" of my curriculum
and schedule which was necessary each year to implement an electronic
Quite simply, the Live From... specials were too good to miss!
Let me share my reasoning by listing the following special opportunities
which I think Live From Mars will also provide:
- Live From Mars will make your classroom a place for active student
- Live From Mars will connect your students to working scientists
applying in the real world many of the principles you'll first
present to them in the classroom
Mike Malin, designer and builder of Mars camera systems, Malin
Space Science Systems, San Diego, CA ...The most interesting part
of my job today is thinking up new instruments for future missions.
There is tremendous competition to provide instruments for up-coming
spaceflights, and the things that limit what we can do (size, weight,
power, and cost), added to the intensity of the competition, make
for an exciting challenge.
I decided to work in a space-related field when I was very young.
Exactly when I cannot remember, but I clipped articles from newspapers
that described rocket flights several years before the first satellites
were orbited (when I was 5 or 6 years old). Throughout my education,
I studied as much science as I could, in class, by going to the
public library and reading, and by visiting the Griffith Park Planetarium
(in Los Angeles, where I grew up). I continued to keep a scrapbook
of newpaper and magazine articles until I went to college...
- Passport to Knowledge activities help teachers meet many of
the objectives outlined in the National Science Standards (National
Academy of Sciences/National Research Council) and the Benchmarks
For Scientific Literacy (AAAS/Project 2061) (See Matrix, inside
back cover of this Guide)
- Live From Mars encourages the use of current and appropriate
assessment practices which will help you meet district and state-wide
mandates for which you probably have no extra books, or budgets,
- Live From Mars suggests relevant, flexible, immediate and practical
ways to use new and emerging information technologies. Many schools
are in the process of getting wired up to the 'Net and acquiring
the hardware to incorporate the new technology. This major capital
outlay will result in close scrutiny on the part of your administration,
Board of Education and your community about its effectiveness.
Too often the software, the content, gets left until last. Live
From Mars provides structured, pedagogically sound and SAFE use
of the Internet for students
- In line with current pedagogical theory and NSF's new initiative
to engage parents more directly in their youngster's education,
Live From Mars provides an opportunity for extensive and positive
public outreach. Many teachers have made parents and community
resources part of their previous electronic field trip experience-extending,
enhancing and reinforcing student learning and excitement. And
this dynamic multimedia experience affords wonderful opportunities
for positive publicity for your class, school and district.
I am not a science teacher, and so I don't have the opportunity to
do all the interesting experiments and to adequately follow the lesson
plans in the guide... I teach English as a second language on the
high school level. I have students from all over the world... but
many of them are on the elementary level in terms of their language,
science, and social studies background. The Live From Antarctica project
was a mind-blowing experience for them. That is why we are back again
this year for more excitement....I am using all the materials, messages,
updates, journals, questions and answers as our reading materials-as
my vehicle for teaching vocabulary enrichment and reading comprehension
skills. They will be getting science concepts at the same time. and
it is real! It is not dry workbooks.... I have spent the last few
days replaying the videos, pausing often, to translate and explain
everything which is said. All the unfamiliar words go on the blackboard,
are explained, and then the tape is replayed so they can again hear
the words used in context. This is listening comprehension, but it
is not artificial, it is real.
Barbara Weinman, ESL Teacher, NJ
A Special Challenge
| Previous Passport to Knowledge Live From... modules could be implemented
in four to six weeks. These interactive, multimedia Modules make excellent
interdisciplinary units-with all disciplines enhancing and enriching
the science content.
Live From Mars, however, differs from the previous Live From...
modules in an important and quite challenging aspect. This electronic
field trip will be following two missions to Mars in Real Time-from
the launches of Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Pathfinder in November/December1996
through the touchdown of Mars Pathfinder on the Red Planet on or
around July 4, 1997, and continuing as scientists (and students)
receive and analyze the data from MPF and MGS on through 1997 and
into 1998. In short, this electronic field trip-from launch through
landing-spans two academic school years! The implementation of this
unique learning experience requires flexibility in planning; you
may find one of the following models suitable for your own situation.
Model A Teacher will have class for
one academic year only
Follow the suggested timeline for Programs 1 and 2, and complete
Activities coordinated with Programs 3 and 5 as a "set"
or preview for the next phases of the missions to Mars. Students
should be encouraged to continue following the mission by watching
newscasts and other special programs in the summer of 1997, catching
up -if possible-with broadcasts 4 and 5 on PBS, or NASA-TV in the
1997-98 school year (broadcast information to be announced), and
monitoring the missions' further progress via on-line and print
Model B Teachers in consecutive grade
levels team up to implement LFM over two years
For example, if LFM were implemented in grades 5 and 6, the fifth
grade (Class A) would complete activities suggested in the Teacher's
Guide for Programs 1-3 during the 1996-97 school year. When matriculated
into grade 6 (1997-98), these students (Class A) would review their
previous experiences (using Program 4) and continue their Mission
to Mars with the activities coordinated with Program 5. The 1996-97
sixth grade (Class B), however, would follow Model A.
Model C Home schoolers or "looping"
Implement Live From Mars as detailed in project timeline (co-packaged
Model D New class of students in the
1997-98 school year (or beyond)
Implement Live From Mars as a complete project, utilizing taped
broadcast from 1996-97, the printed Guide and on-line resources.
Check out the discuss-lfm archive online to learn what worked
best for teachers the year before, and build on their successes!
Note: All materials, Teacher's Guide, videotapes,
on-line access, will continue to be available beyond 1997.
A special challenge? You bet-but the rewards are worth the effort.
And the real winners will be our students.
Summit Middle School Summit, New Jersey
| Teachers' comments on student responses to PTK's
Live from the Hubble Space Telescope
"Hands-On became minds-on. Great stuff for an inner-city
- 6th grade teacher, FL
"My students are realizing that they can communicate with
people around the world, and realizing the vast possibilities for
jobs in today's world."
- 2nd grade teacher, UT "
... they got a feel for the importance of the work being done,
and some of the dark science was brought to light.
They started to understand the electromagnetic spectrum."
- amateur astronomer assisting a classroom teacher "...through
the Internet they can travel anywhere and ask questions of experts
in any field.
- 7th and 8th grade teacher, IL
"With a modem-equipped computer, a universe of information
is (literally) at one's fingertips."
- 5th grade teacher, TX