Welcome to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond live simulation
website. This website provides everything a teacher
would need to run this simulation effectively in his
or her classroom.
This program is an innovative way to engage students
in grades 3-5 in the power of math and science in
real world situations. The mission is based on authentic
space science and math. During the mission, students
connect live to a Flight Director with the help of
computers, the Internet, and video conferencing equipment.
A Rescue Mission
The year is 2080 and NASA has permanent research bases
on both the Moon and Mars. From these bases, astronaut
scientists can study stars and planets and continue
to search for possible life outside Earth.
Exploration vessels routinely take off from the Moon
and Mars to conduct research. Flybys of planets and
moons yield valuable information and will tell us
if the establishment of more research stations is
possible. The exploration missions also look for and
track any comets, asteroids, or meteoroids which may
potentially harm the Earth or our bases.
On Mission Day, the students are in Mars Mission Control
anxiously awaiting the arrival of a space ship that
is launching from the lunar base. The space ship is
on a rescue mission. It has been five days since a
research vessel exploring the outer regions of our
solar system has checked in with the Mars base. They
are thought to be lost or having communication problems.
The rescue ship just launched from the Moon will hopefully
bring the two astronaut crew back to the Mars station
safely. The rescue ship will have to stop at the Mars
base to pick up the supplies needed for the rescue
of the astronauts and for the trip back to Mars.
The students have a lot to do before the rescue ship
arrives at the Mars station. They are divided into
teams to work more efficiently on the rescue. The
teams are based on the five planets in our outer solar
system, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto,
with an additional team working to communicate the results
of the team work directly to Earth Mission Control.
Within each Planet Team, the students must assume
roles to accomplish the rescue. The jobs for each Planet Team are:
receive information from
near their planet about where the lost ship has been
each day. The information is encoded and the students
must decode it using:
Words = Greek symbols
Each letter = Circular symbols
Words = Math equations [for example: (3 x 4) was (10
They complete a problem-solving chart to track
where the ship has been spotted each day Monday through
Friday and help predict the location of the lost ship
plot the location of each planet
on an X-Y coordinate plane. They also must plot the
location of solar system “Unknowns” and
the course of the ship over the last five days.
calculate the cargo needed for a
rescue trip to their planet. The cargo needed includes
food, water, and oxygen for the two astronauts on
the trip out to rescue the lost astronauts and for
all astronauts on the return trip. They must also
calculate the number of packing crates necessary to
pack the supplies.
The relays vital information
to Earth Mission Control throughout the rescue attempt.
The team members must gather information and data
from all teams and communicate the information effectively
to ensure a coordinated rescue effort.
Each team receives the data they need on the team’s
data computer. Each specialist receives three sets of data. Final calculations
are recorded on a main data board at the front of
Working together, the teams must locate the lost ship
and rescue the astronauts.
Students begin preparing for the mission by selecting the Communication Team
or Spectialist Team according to their interest or expertise.
They complete a team application and gather resumes
that highlight their interest or skill in a particular
rescue task. In the subsequent weeks they engage in
preparatory activities during which they practice
how to plot data on coordinate graphs, decode messages
using a decoding key, and plan for supplies vital
to saving the lost astronauts.
A Crisis Brought to Your Classroom
Moon, Mars, and Beyond joins the lineup of innovative
distance learning programs offered by the Challenger
Learning Center. Simulations are an interactive method
for teachers to effectively use technology in the
classroom. Research indicates this way of learning
leads to improved problem-solving and critical-thinking
skills and teaches students the importance of teamwork
Shifting to digital learning is critical to the success
of education in America. Moon, Mars, and Beyond creates
an opportunity for you to apply various technologies
and provides necessary digital content lacking in
so many computer classrooms. The program's interactive
nature also gives students a chance to experience
distance learning through simulations, no matter how
remote the school.
Throughout the program students apply math, science,
and reading skills to solve problems. The program
was designed by middle and high school teachers, educational
researchers, and subject matter experts. Lesson plans
are provided to help students prepare for the mission.
All materials were created to reinforce national science
and math standards.
Good luck on your rescue mission!