The hands on Mars-themed activities were developed as extension materials to the highly successful Solar System in a Box. The focus of Mars in a Box is to link with KS4-KS5 engineering, physics, maths and programming topics. The activities comprise:
Mars Rovers: Using LEGO Mindstorms EV3 kits students plan, research, test and evaluate their design of a Mars rover to pass a series of challenges. This is a longer project and is ideally suited for science clubs or extended projects.
Asteroid Ice-Cream: This demonstration builds an edible analogue of carbon-rich asteroids of similar composition to the moons of Mars.
Mars Timeline: This image analysis activity links to KS3-KS5 geology and geography. Using real satellite images from Mars, students unravel the timeline of geological events in two different locations on Mars.
Atmospheres – Earth vs Mars: This is a theoretical activity based on KS4 maths and physics. Students calculate the mass of the Earth and Mars atmosphere from first principles and go on to calculate the height of the Martian atmosphere. Properties of the Martian atmosphere have influenced the Martian surface.
Mars Globes: This is an art/craft activity allowing people to build their own globe of Mars. It is suitable for KS1-KS2 and works well in a science festival environment.
The outlined activities have been delivered at a range of events including the 2013 BBC Star Gazing Live East Midlands, 2014 Star Gazing Live Leicester and the 2013 Astrobiology Academy in Edinburgh. Furthermore, I am negotiating for Mars Rovers to be trialled in the next school year linking to projects run by the University of Bristol Centre for Public Engagement.
This project was supported by a 2012/2013 UK Space Agency Space for All grant.