Mars Rover Model Celebration

Program Element / Activity Title:
Mars Rover Model Celebration
E/PO Project Name:
The Mars Rover Model Celebration
Contact Information:
Professor of Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Houston
617 Science and Research, I
Houston TX 77204-5005
Program Element / Activity Website:
Short Description:

This project aims to incorporate up-to-date SMD education resources and science and mission data relating to NASA’s explorations of Mars into the Mars Rover Celebration (MRC), an existing low-cost curriculum enhancement program for grades 3-8. The MRC prototype focuses on the adventure of learning and discovery, asking participating teams to propose their own scientific mission to Mars, design a rover to carry it out, and present a mock-up at an open house. The overarching goal of this program is to leverage the strong hold on children's imagination and intellectual curiosity that NASA missions in general and Mars landers in particular have possessed for decades to inspire and educate on STEM career choices.

We are modifying and refining this prototype program by enhancing the NASA content and instructional strategies employed, and strengthening the training and support provided so that educators may more effectively and successfully teach, engage and motivate students in SMD related STEM subject areas. To accomplish these objectives, this proposed program will:

1) Expand and improve the program curriculum to provide more cross referencing to appropriate SMD curriculum materials, MER, MSL and other NASA E/PO activities and updated, more complete alignment with State and National standards;

2) Specifically tackle effective instruction issues by incorporating comprehension, cooperative learning, scaffolding and modeling practices in the curricular materials developed;

3) Expand the current professional development workshops for K-12 teachers to include more STEM/ SMD content training, including training about the results from recent NASA Mars missions and in teaching the engineering design process; and

4) Develop parent education workshops to train parents and community informal educators on how best to support the program.

Awards Received:
Not at this time.
Program Element / Activity Status
Please list products / materials that will result / have resulted from this program element / activity:
Name: Mars Rover Model Celebration Curriculum, Lessons 1, 2, 3, 5, 6. 9, 11 and 13
Status: Passed SMD Product Review
Name: Mars Rover Model Celebration Curriculum, Lessons 4, 7, 8, 10,12, 14 and 15
Status: Internal Review
Please share any additional updates or information about your program element / activity:
Until the end of the budget, I am more than willing to come to your community and give a training workshop on the curriculum.
Audience Metrics
Who is the primary audience of your program element / activity?:
Who is the secondary audience of your program element / activity?:
National Priorities and Coordination Approaches as Articulated in CoSTEM:
  • Increase and Sustain Youth and Public Engagement in STEM
What are the goals and objectives of your program element / activity?:
Described in attached file
What is the design of the evaluation process for your program element / activity?:
Described in attached file
What are the main impacts of your effort to date and how do they correlate to the project's goals and objectives:
Described in attached file
Have your evaluation findings / impacts been published? If so, where?:
As conference posters at both of the last two AGU Fall Meetings