Starting July 8th, we have connected with NASA to do a five part class in the latest exploration of Mars! Every Thursday at 1:00 PM until August 5th. You can still register today, receiving a certificate from NASA is you go to all classes! Come engage in a journey of space exploration with hands-on activities and lessons.

Today, July 8th, we learned about Mars, the history of rovers and how scientists know what images from Mars means. Our group of students were eager to learn more and get this project going. After doing some teaching, the kids and volunteers got to draw what they thought Mars or other planets look like.

We can guess and see the whereabouts of Mars from the rover reports, but this activity will get their minds turning and excited to see what else Mars may hold. Knowing the atmosphere and land of Mars will prepares the kids for the next class; Planning your Mission.

On July 15th, after a review of last week, Nancy and our volunteer Izzy jumped straight into Planning Our Mission! The seven kids we had are eager to see what they need and how astronauts landed on this red planet. We worked with a catalog of hardware, limitations, and designs for their craft – just like a real NASA Mission!

Using a 3D model of the Perseverance Rover, we looked at all the equipment and functions we need for our own Rover. After choosing our Mission name, Bravery, our crew worked together to make decisions within our budget; our launch system, computers, scientific instruments and more.

The afternoon of July 22nd, we jumped straight into making paper propellers! We spent up to 30 minutes testing what works with adding weight of paperclips, coins, or making the blades shorter. When we felt ready, we used the landing above our Veteran Hall to see who had done the most spins. Charlie got up to 25 spins!

We watched a short video on the history of rover wheels, how NASA figured out what would work best for exploring Mars. Using simple supplies of cardboard, scissors, a pencil, straws, mints, tape and rubber bands we made rovers! A small family joined in and made their own as well, completing seven rovers that moved on their own with a twist of the pencil. With every passing activity we do each week, our class gets more interested and experimental with what will work best for their projects.

July 29th turned our crafts into a competition! We started with learning about rockets, what differences are best for the variety of missions NASA has and how to make them better. Which takes practice and changes! Using straws, paper, and tape we designed our rockets for launch!

We had a set of three rounds to configure which design worked best for distance and accuracy, taking place in our Rock and Mineral Room. After each round, our students made changes to their rockets, such as adding more tape (weight), placing more side flaps or trimming the rocket body down. Stay up to date as we get ready for our final Mission: Mars Sample Handling!

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