Live From Mars Teacher's Guide Preview: Unique Opportunity

From: (Jan Wee)
Subject: Live From Mars Teacher's Guide Preview: Unique Opportunity
Date: Fri, 04 Oct 1996 15:15:06 -0500

Dear discuss-lfm members,

Here is the third preview file written by Pat Haddon, or
Passport to Knowledge Curriuclum Coordinator.

Jan Wee


Live From Mars
A unique opportunity...

Live From Mars is an electronic field trip (e.f.t.) that can take you 
and your students along on one of the most exciting scientific 
adventures of this decade. But LFM also has the potential to make 
significant contributions to your students' learning of, and attitude 
towards, science; advance your own professional growth through 
exposure to cutting-edge knowledge state-of-the-art technology, 
and boost your school systems' effectiveness as a valuable 
institution for 21st Century learning. 

Ambitious thoughts?  High-flying rhetoric?  Another educational 
gimmick?  I think not. In fact, I have rearranged my Grade 6 science 
curriculum over the past three years in order to implement previous 
Modules from the PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE series of Live From... 
specials. Live From Antarctica, Live From the Stratosphere, and Live 
>From the Hubble Space Telescope were all unique, and did not always 
precisely parallel my course of study.  So how was I able to 
rationalize to students, parents and administrators the "fine tuning" 
of my curriculum and schedule which was necessary each year to 
implement an "eft"?  

Quite simply, the Live From... specials were too good to miss!  Let me 
share my reasoning by listing the following special opportunities 
which I think Live From Mars will provide:
* Live From Mars will make your classroom a place for active 
student learning
* Live From Mars will connect your students to working 
scientists applying in the real world many of the principles you'll 
first present to them in the classroom
* PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE activities help teachers meet many 
of the objectives outlined in the National Science Standards 
(National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council) and the 
Benchmarks For Scientific Literacy (AAAS/Project 2061) (See 
matrix pp CHECK in this Guide) 
* Live From Mars encourages the use of current and appropriate 
assessment practices (See page CHECK) which will help you meet 
district and state-wide mandates (for which you probably have no 
extra books, or budgets, or materials!
* Live From Mars suggests relevant, flexible, immediate and 
practical ways to use new and emerging information technologies. 
Many schools are in the process of getting wired up to the Net and 
acquiring the hardware to incorporate the new technology. This 
major capital outlay will result in close scrutiny on the part of your 
administration, Board of Education and your community about its 
application and effectiveness. But too often the software, the 
content, gets left until last.  Live From Mars  provides structured, 
pedagogically sound and SAFE use of the Internet for students
* In line with current pedagogical theory and NSF's new 
initiative to engage parents more directly in their youngster's 
education, Live From Mars  provides an opportunity for extensive and 
positive public outreach.  Many teachers have made parents and 
community resources part of their previous electronic field trip 
experience -- extending, enhancing and reinforcing student learning 
and excitement.  And this dynamic multimedia experience affords 
wonderful opportunities for positive publicity for your class, school 
and district. 

A special challenge...
Previous PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE Live From... modules could be 
implemented in four to six weeks. These interactive, multimedia 
Modules make excellent interdisciplinary units -- with all 
disciplines enhancing and enriching the science content.

Live From Mars, however, differs from the previous Live From... 
modules in an important and, quite challenging aspect.  This 
electronic field trip will be following several missions to Mars in 
REAL TIME -- from the launches of Mars Global Surveyor and Mars 
Pathfinder in November/December 1996 through the touchdown of 
Mars Pathfinder on the Red Planet on or around July 4, 1997, and 
continuing as scientists (and students) receive and analyze the data 
from MPF and MGS on through 1997 and into 1998, at which time new 
missions should be ready to launch.  In short, this electronic field 
trip -- from launch through landing -- spans two academic school 
years! The implementation of this unique eft necessitates flexibility 
in planning; you may find one of the following models suitable for 
your own situation.

 Follow the suggested timeline for Programs 1 and 2, and complete  
Activities coordinated with Programs 3 and 5 as a set or preview 
for the next phases of the missions to Mars.  Students should be 
encouraged to continue following the mission by watching 
newscasts and other special programs in the summer of 1997, 
catching up -- if possible -- with broadcasts 4 and 5 on PBS in the 
1997-98 school year (broadcast information to be announced), and 
monitoring the missions' further progress via online and print media 

 For example, if LFM were implemented in grades 5 and 6, the fifth 
grade (Class A) would complete activities in suggested in the 
Teacher's Guide for Programs 1-3 during the 1996-97 school year.  
When matriculated into grade 6 (1997-98), these students (Class A) 
would review the previous experiences (using Program 4) and 
continue their Mission to Mars with the activities coordinated with 
Program 5. 

The  sixth grade (Class B), however, would follow MODEL A.

Implement LFM as detailed in project timeline (See page CHECK)

(or beyond)
Implement Live from Mars as a complete project, utilizing taped 
broadcast from 1996-97, the printed Guide and online resources. 
Check out the discuss-lfm archive online to learn what worked best 
for teachers the year before, and build on their successes!

Note: All materials, Teacher's Guide, videotapes, online access, will 
continue to be available beyond 1997.

A special challenge?  You bet - but the rewards are worth the effort. 
And the real winners will be our students.

Patricia Haddon
Summit Middle School
Summit, New Jersey