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M.A.R.S. Introduction
The Mission Scenario
Learning Objectives
NCTM Math Standards
Technology Requirements
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Technology Setup


  1. Videoconferencing system with monitor or LCD.

    • The videoconferencing system can be a dedicated videoconferencing unit, by manufacturers such as Polycom, Tandberg™, or VTEL, or it can be an extra computer equipped with a webcam, microphone, speakers, and videoconferencing software, such as Microsoft NetMeeting.

    • The videoconferencing system should be connected to a large screen (either a monitor or an LCD projector). The image should be displayed in the front of the room so the students can see the mission commander and video clips.

  2. Three computers per team and another LCD projector.

    • The communications team uses the videoconferencing system as well as their own computer for data and chat.

    • Per team: one computer for Nav experts, one for the Sci/Ops experts, and one the the Communication experts.

  3. Internet connections for the above computers and the latest version of Internet Explorer installed.

  4. Macromedia Flash player v. 7.0 and optional NetMeeting (both software programs are free and available on the Internet). The Flash tools for the mission will not work properly without Flash Player 7.0.

  5. Digital camera (optional). A digital camera is valuable for recording the excitement of the mission.

Note: A computer lab might be too crowded. Typically labs are arranged in permanent rows. This does not permit team communications or the required flow of foot traffic.

Videoconferencing System

The videoconferencing system can be either a stand-alone unit (such as Polycom, Tandberg, etc.) or a computer-based system (PC with a webcam and NetMeeting software).

  • If you have a stand-alone videoconferencing system, make sure it is connected using IP. If you are using ISDN or ATM lines, you will require a bridging system.

  • If you have a computer-based videoconferencing system, and the computer is a PC, you have to install Windows NetMeeting. Unfortunately there are no free videoconferencing software downloads available for Macs that we can recommend.

Connection Procedures

  • Test the audio/video connection at least one week before.

  • Make sure the camera and microphone can see both members of the communications team.

  • The whole class should be able to see and hear the flight director easily above of the noise of all the students.

  • During the audio/video connection you will need to test the communications officer computers. Using one of the communications officer computers, go to the following (You must have Flash Player v 7.0) Note: You may wish to bookmark this URL on the computers.

  • User ID - drop down menu with list of team names. Each team will use a different name (Alpha, Bravo, etc.)

  • Password: provided on the day (use lowercase only)

  • Test the computer’s chat window in the lower right.

  • Test the computer’s data window on the left.

Download Microsoft Active Accessibility.

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