Week 2

Session 1

Part 1

Guiding Question

  • How can we detect life on Mars using a robot?

Subquestions

  • What is the environment of Mars? (You could split students into smaller groups to complete research on different questions.)

Outcomes

  • The goal is to understand the environment of Mars and that water is the indication of life on Mars.

  • Students create group oral reports on their research.

CT Components

Data Collection

  • Student collect data on the environment of Mars.

Abstraction

  • Students identify main characteristics of the environment of Mars.

Communication

  • Students present their findings on the environment of Mars.

Entry Event

5 minutes

Direct students to watch approximately two minutes of this video: All about Mars

  • Ask students how they would describe the environment of Mars to their friends if they went to Mars.

What is the environment of Mars?

Small-group Hands-on Scientific Inquiry (20 minutes)

Students research about Mars, the conditions, and environments on Mars to answer the research questions. They produce a group oral report or a PowerPoint Presentation on their research question(s).

Research Questions

  1. Where is Mars?

    • Answer 4th planet

  2. How big is it?

    • Answer Roughly 50% the size of Earth

  3. Why is it red?

    • Answer The dust/soil on the surface has iron it (it's rusty!)

  4. How far from Earth is it?

    • Answer Depends upon where in the orbit we are

  5. What is the gravity on Mars?

    • Answer 1/3 Earth’s gravity - How much would you weigh on Mars?

  6. What is the atmosphere like?

    • Answer It's far less dense than Earth

  7. What is it made of?

    • Answer About 95% carbon dioxide

  8. What is the density of the air (how much air)?

    • Answer 0.6% of Earth’s atmosphere (at sea level)

  9. What would the wind feel like?

    • Answer Like a slight breeze

10 minute break

Part 2

Guiding Question

  • How can we detect life on Mars using a robot?

Subquestions

  • What does life consist of?

Outcomes

  • A group oral report on what does life consist of? (choose one representative to report or report one by one); or a group written report depending on time.

CT Components

Data Collection

  • Student collect data on different forms of life.

Abstraction

  • Students capture common characteristics of life on earth into one set that can be used to represent other form of life on another planet.

Communication

  • Student present their findings on forms of life.

Entry Event

5 minutes

A teacher asks, “What is life?” and shows the students pictures of a person, dog, lobster (form of life); PAUSEs and asks “do you think they are a form of life? ”;

Next, showing students pictures of a tree, fruit, mushroom, coral (form of life); PAUSEs and asks “do you think they are a form of life?”;

Then, showing students pictures of a rock, metal, pencil (not a form of life); PAUSEs and asks “do you think they are a form of life?;

Finally, showing students a picture of a cell, virus, fungus and other forms of microorganism (form of life and leads students to think beyond the life forms they normally can see and observe); PAUSEs and asks “do you think they are a form of life?;

Ask student to have a hypothesis of what life is and then set out to test their hypothesis through research.

What does life consist of?

Small-group Hands-on Scientific Inquiry (20 minutes)

Students research about life, forms of life, and conditions for life, They answer the question and produce a group report on this research question; they need to take notes on the important facts and knowledge they found during their research (need to discuss the individual roles and the rotation of role in this process)

Student Pre-Survey

20 minutes

Students fill out the pre- survey in the first session to establish the baseline data. The researchers will prepare the surveys. Teachers will collect the completed surveys and return the surveys to the researchers on site.

End of Session Reflection and Debriefing

5-10 minutes

Teacher briefly explains the computational thinking (CT) skill embedded in the Problem Solving Process Diagram. Using the problem solving process diagram, the teacher will ask students to identify what kind of problem solving skills/process/computational thinking they used in this session and explain how they used it. The following are some sample questions that can guide the debrief.

  • What did I learn today?

  • What problem solving skills/processes or CT components in this diagram did I use today?

  • How did I use the problem solving skills/processes/CT components?