Skip to main content

Exploration Mars - Virtual

Main Image
Astronomy and Space Science Volunteer Activities
Main Image
Astronomy and Space Science Volunteer Activities
Activity Language
Time Needed for Activity

In this workshop, students will learn about and experience the challenges of Space Exploration using un-manned space probes, with specific focus on exploring Mars.

Students will learn about the different types of space probes: Orbiters, Landers, and Rovers and how each spacecraft explores space. They will learn about scientists who work at the Canadian Space Agency and act as an agent of the CSA themselves as they build their own model of a Lander or Rover!

Workshop Objectives:

  • To learn the conditions of Mars.
  • To learn about different methods of exploring space and other planets, and about employees at the CSA.
  • To practice critical thinking about methods of data collection and the data itself.
  • To be creative and innovative!

This virtual outreach activity is split into a pre-activity document - i.e., workshop overview and list of materials with preparation instructions for both the volunteer and educator, a post-activity document - i.e., extra information and resources for the educator after the activity, and a PowerPoint presentation with presenter notes to help lead the workshop virtually.

What You Need

Activity 1: Building a Lander/Rover

  • 1 medium piece of cardboard (or cardstock, or multiple pieces of paper)
  • 2 sheets of paper
  • Markers (or pencil crayons, crayons, paint)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Roll of scotch/clear tape (or glue stick, masking tape)
  • Pencil and eraser
  • OPTIONAL: Balloons, string, toothpicks. craft sticks, pipe cleaners, straws, paperclips

Activity 2: Building a Martian 

  • Pencil and eraser (or any drawing utensil)
  • Markers (or pencil crayons, crayons, paint)
  • Make a Martian Worksheet (or a piece of paper)

PowerPoint:

Pre-Activity Document:

 

Safety Notes

Ensure you are familiar with Let's Talk Science's precautions with respect to safe delivery of virtual outreach to youth. These precautions can be found in the manual for this activity. 

What To Do

Activity 1: Building a Lander/Rover

Day 1: Design

Today, you will be drawing a design of your Lander/Rover. You will have 1 day (6 minutes to work on a sketch of your spacecraft).

You will be required to incorporate some features into your spacecraft as well as safety precautions.

Make sure you include the following qualities:

  • Temperature/Wind sensors
  • Way to get energy
  • An arm to collect surface samples
  • An extra feature of your choice

NOTE: If you are building a Rover, it will also need wheels so it can move!

Day 2: The Pitch

Today, you will be able to pitch your design to your coworkers. We will give you a couple of minutes to review your design and maybe make some last minute touches if you need to. Have students share their ideas in smaller groups or with the audience if there's time.

Day 3: Building

Today, we will start building our Lander/Rover. You will actually have two days to build, each day being about 10 minutes long. We recommend that today you build:

  • Body of your spacecraft
  • Temperature or wind sensor

Day 4: Building

Today will be your final day of building. Again, you will have 10 minutes, but today we recommend you work on the following tasks:

  • The arm
  • The battery/energy source
  • Extra feature

Challenge:

If you have completed your build, here is your challenge:

  • The surface is extremely windy, how can you ensure that your spacecraft will land upright?

Day 5: Final Presentation

Today, you will be presenting your final prototype to your boss. You can be creative in your demonstration, here are some ideas:

  • Identify all the parts
  • Demonstrate it in action

Activity 2: Let's Make a Martian

Build an alien that can survive on Mars! 

  1. Design your alien using pencil crayons or markers on the worksheet.
  2. Develop a 3D model of your alien using craft materials (e.g., Modelling clay, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, foil, etc.)

Discovery

Resources

Pre-Activity Document:

Post-Activity Document:

PowerPoint Presentation:

 

For an overview of the topic and how you might guide students through this activity, including an example lander, see the following video located on the Let's Talk Science National YouTube page titled "Let's Talk Science - Building a Lander || Science Activity" at this link: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UIBmqzcE2Q 

This video is also available in French, titled "Parlons sciences - Construire un atterrisseur || Activité scientifique" at this link: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd3QhjnVHss

Resources

Pre-Activity Document:

Post-Activity Document:

PowerPoint Presentation:

 

For an overview of the topic and how you might guide students through this activity, including an example lander, see the following video located on the Let's Talk Science National YouTube page titled "Let's Talk Science - Building a Lander || Science Activity" at this link: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UIBmqzcE2Q 

This video is also available in French, titled "Parlons sciences - Construire un atterrisseur || Activité scientifique" at this link: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd3QhjnVHss