Moon, Mars and Beyond!

Posted on May 29, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

by Tim Van Heule

5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Blast off!

The third grade students in Mrs. Presnell’s class at Berea Elementary School were successful on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 in their e-Mission: Moon, Mars and Beyond!

The Moon, Mars and Beyond! mission engages students in a live simulation. Students are a group of scientists/astronauts working to find a disabled spacecraft somewhere in the solar system.

Students were broken up into six teams; five of the teams had three participants, all with a different role – Cargo Specialists, Navigation Specialists, and Transmission Specialists, and the last team was the Communications Team.

Cargo Specialists had to calculate the amount of food, water, and oxygen that would be needed to reach the lost spacecraft. Navigation Specialists had to plot unidentified objects on a grid using X,Y coordinates. The Transmission Specialists decoded messages that helped to identify which of the unidentified objects was actually the disabled spacecraft. Lastly, the Communications Team was responsible for relaying the findings from each of the teams back to Mission Control at the Challenger Learning Center.

The students were able to locate the disabled spacecraft, saving the lives of the crew on board.

Mrs. Presnell’s class worked diligently and enjoyed the opportunity, as was apparent in the debriefing session that followed as the students discussed their roles and responsibilities, what they liked the most about their assigned role, and what was the most challenging aspect of that role.

Live simulation through the use of videoconferencing is a great project-based learning opportunity, benefiting the students as they apply their knowledge gained in the classroom to real life.

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