With the recent success of India’s lunar landing and interesting articles sent to my inbox by NASA, I wanted to share some relevant STEM lessons my students loved!
In their article, “Why Bring Mars Samples Down To Earth?”, NASA explains the purpose behind their Mars Sample Return mission.
Moon Rock Challenge
This reminded me of the Moon Rock Challenge mission I created for my students following the news about China’s rover landing on the moon's dark side. (Update on mission HERE.)
In the challenge, student engineers must build a device to grab moon rocks (in our case, we used the LEGO WEDO grabber build but you could use recyclable materials instead of robotics).
The main element of this challenge is that the student grabbing the rocks (packing peanuts) is behind a barrier and can’t see them. They must communicate with another engineer who has the visuals!
They must work together to gather as many rocks (could be the Moon or Mars!) for scientists to bring back for analysis. I built collection vessels with recycled large cardboard tubes, but you could use solo cups or any other easy-to-find cylinder.
We talked a lot about how space scientists must communicate effectively with the devices they send to the Moon or Mars in order to successfully complete the task.
Moon Rover Challenge
This was a lesson (Slides) I created for a professional development session with elementary educators. My intent was for them to learn to use the LEGO WEDO 2.0 kits as well as learn how to integrate STEM into non-fiction literacy, science content, math measurement, and the effective use of technology apps.
You could copy and edit these slides to include different robots like LEGO Spike, BeeBots, Dash, etc. if you don’t have WEDO 2.0 (which has sadly been discontinued). Or you could have the engineers make it out of recycled materials, not using robots at all!
Do you have a favorite Space STEM activity? I'd love to hear about it! #BetterTogether
STEM Advocate and Picture Book Author