Mars Exploration Curriculum at Lincoln Elementary School (4th/5th grade)

Since the beginning of the 1997-98 school year, we have spent one to two hours each week developing the theme of Mars Exploration in Mr. David Wirth's 4th/5th grade classroom. The primary emphasis of this program has been the Red Rover, Red Rover Kit from the Planetary Society, which stimulates the Mars Pathfinder and Sojourner Rover Mars Mission. Because this kit was originally developed for middle school students, we have modified the curriculum to address the needs of a younger age group. The elementary school version of Red Rover now emphasizes the broader topic of human exploration and colonization of Mars. This has allowed students to approach the subject of the exploration of new worlds in space while considering the basic environmental conditions required for human survival. Four students from Lincoln School presented their Red Rover learning experiences to the MMSD Board in December 1997.

During the last four weeks of the semester, other 4th and 5th grade classes rotated through a one hour introduction to the Mars Exploration curriculum with the objective of choosing a specific activity to pursue during the second semester. The ultimate goal will be to develop a research investigation to be submitted to the Great Blue, an inquiry based journal of science, math and creative writing published by the Heron Network. An extravaganza is planned in spring 1998 along with a student conference in May 1998. With the support of the NASA IDEAS Program, we plan to introduce a new component to the Great Blue, called Space Projects And Research by Kids (SPARK). See instructions for submitting a students report or investigation related to space.

The Red Rover program will be conducted once again for the College Access Program for minority middle school students this summer at Jefferson Middle School in Madison. In addition, Red Rover is also being introduced this summer to Bell and MEC Middle Schools in Milwaukee with the intent to make it part of their 6th grade science curriculum during the regular school year.


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Outreach Coordinator: Rosayln Pertzborn