your own Rover!
by: Rosemary Shaw, Millennium Middle School, Sanford, FL
Subjects: Science, Mathematics,
Language Arts, Technology, Computer Science, Geography
Grades: Elementary and
Old Remote controlled car (any kind!) that still works, tin foil (or silver
paper), solar panels, small motor, pencils, Styrofoam, TV with cable access,
computers with network access, VCR, digital cameras, pencils, tape, scissors,
glue and lots of imagination
Students will utilize the Internet, html, digital cameras, use of scanners
the basics of essays for this project.
will be able to do the following:
-- Analyze information and solve the given problems.
-- Learn to write essays in proper form to present their information.
-- Learn about copyrights, plagiarism and appropriation of material from
-- Gather data using the Internet.
-- Understand the geological terms that identify landforms
-- Identify significant landforms found on Earth and another planet
-- Make metric conversions
-- Understand the concept of scale
-- Describe at least one recent finding about the planet of their choice
-- Describe the features that make the Earth different from any other
-- Understand the concept of solar panels.
-- Use HTML and advanced web design techniques to create web pages as
showcase for their projects.
Research the terrain of Earth. Have students learn about the different
types of landforms generally found on Earth. View topographical maps.
Assign a salt map
For salt dough:
1. mix 2 parts flour
2. 1 part salt and 1 part water.
3. Add a bit more water if it's crumbly.
4. Mold, let dry and paint.
Discuss means of gathering information. Brainstorm with students, different
means of gathering information. As discussion continues, slip in gathering
information from other planets.
Research NASA's fact-finding missions to other planets. These should include,
but are not limited to all of the Mariners, Pioneers, Vikings and Voyagers.
Assign students a short research project (using the 5 paragraph essay
form) about one of NASA's fact-finding missions. (Each student given different
missions) Have students present them in chronological order for the class.
Best and most research done for this project is via the Internet.
Discuss the Moon Rover with the students. Students could watch a video
of the lunar landing and then discuss the need for the rover.
Choose another planet (or moon of a planet) to research focusing on terrain.
Have students identify significant landforms of the chosen planet.
Assign a salt map showing a
selected section of their planet.
Discuss with students the need for rovers, and research Pathfinder and
upcoming 2003 Mars Exploration Rover mission. Have students work in groups
to research the findings sent back by these rovers.
Make a model from the JPL website. Go to: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/MPF/mpf/education/cutouts.html
and download the model they have of Pathfinder.
Have students understand the
measurements of the Pathfinder. This is a perfect
time to teach scale and metric conversions. Using the model from JPL,
the scale to the real Pathfinder. Also, (or instead) you can discuss how
scientists use nothing but metric measurements and how conversions must
made. Then convert the measurements of the real Pathfinder to metric,
convert the measurements of the scaled down model. Also, convert the weight
the Pathfinder to metric.
Create your own remote controlled rover! Using
a remote controlled car, (which your students now know is about the size
of a real rover) you can cover it with tin foil to give it the metallic
look so desired by most students!
Using solar panels (available
at Radio Shack for around $3.50) and the small
motor (also Radio Shack around $3.00) and a pencil you can make your own
radar/transmitter. Using the solar panels gives the opportunity to talk
life of batteries, and how one could not replace a regular AA battery
But the use of the solar panels allow for a power source that does not
be replaced every few hours! (plus, if you use a battery on the small
will make your radar spin too fast!)
You can then attach something
(we used Styrofoam balls cut in half) to represent a radar, and discuss
what other instruments can be used on rovers. Something could represent
a camera, also. (We used the school-supplied webcam, attached to a laptop
and walked around the school with the rover filming)
Use your imagination and your
research to attach instruments to your rover.
Create a rover 'course' that will simulate the terrain on the chosen planet
see if your rover can negotiate the hills and valleys and around obstacles.
Take lots of pictures and make a web page of your research, highlighting