Sixth grade science students at Wilson Middle School in Northwest ISD were challenged by teachers Jason Deardorff and Lindsey Warren to digitally build a civilization on Mars. Their final projects had to showcase strong critical thinking skills by demonstrating solutions to different issues, like reproducing Earth’s atmosphere on Mars, navigating Mars’s terrain, providing food for a colony, creating a safe shelter that would protect them from Mars’s unique climate and atmosphere, and understanding the effects of Mars’s gravity on the human body.
Several students used the website www.thinglink.com to collaboratively create fun and interactive projects online. The students came away from the lesson with a better idea of how to create an atmosphere that would allow humans to live on another planet such as Mars. In one project, students learned about Mars’ weather patterns to determine how to build a suitable shelter for survival.
“We will have the part of the house that we sleep and live in underground,” the students wrote, noting that there were three reasons for doing so. The first was to “be protected from all the dangerous storms on Mars;” the second was to protect the astronauts from Mars’ cold temperatures “because underground the deeper you dig the temperature gets out of the negatives and become[s] normal.” The third reason was to negate the effects of Mars’ gravity, so that when people “return to Earth with the effects of gravity not being as dramatic.”
To showcase the student products, Jason Deardorff and Lindsey Warren created a GALAXY WALK in order for students to visually interact with each group project in one class period. During the walk students would leave reflective feedback posts at each station. All of the students stated how much they enjoyed learning about Mars in an interactive way that encouraged critical thinking and developed technology skills. #IAmTXEd Northwest ISD