Mars Night

From: (Sid & RoseGalitzer)
Subject: Mars Night
Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 20:12:39 -0500

Well Mars night is over and it has taken a while to recoupe.  This school
wide event could only be likened to throwing several balls into the air and
trying to keep them there at the same time.  But everything went off nicely
and the children and their parents loved the whole thing.  Teachers whose
students had been involved in the PET projects set up large displays
including writing samples from student journals/writing prompts and
pictures taken during their
PET work as investigative teams. The library and hallways were filled with
student made rovers from our rover racers.  Other hallways had table after
table of planetary landers used in our egg drop contests. My computer
applications department had three rooms of computers set up with:
Hyperstudio stacks that my students had created about Mars, the Live from
Mars site, investigating alien environments (re: chemical analysis); Web
pages students had authored, a whacked version of the Live from Mars site,
and a copy of my web site; Lego Dacta control labs that the students
created which included robotic rovers, a mobile colony, an elevator, etc.
all centering on computer control using logo; Sim Life set ups simulating
martian environments and the feasibility of different forms of life
existing there; the CuSee Me station turned out to be a printing station
for official martian certificates (even though I booked a reflector site,
the only thing we got from our end was that the version of CuSee Me we were
was too old so we couldn't see anything!). We had the other internet
computer set up for a web chat.  Thanks to the generousity of Sandy Dueck,
Karen Traicoff, Geoff-Haines-Stiles, and Jacob R. Matijevic we had four
experts available to answer questions about mars and the activities we were
involved in.(One problem that they encountered at this station was that
parents, other teachers, and students were reticent about asking questions
on the net.
They were intimidated by the technology and asked questions to the student
running the station, but would not ask the experts ... that includes our
principal who said he was very impressed with the technology and discussed
expanding the technology, but refused to ask questions himself)  In
addition we had the Martian surface set up and 2 Red Rovers controlled by
Macs running on the terrain. (We still have not been able to get the Red
Rover to work on the IBM 386 we purchased.) The performing arts magnet had
martian players at selected spots in the hallways performing skits about
the earth invasion of
mars.  Our dance magnet had dancers throughout the hall and on stage
performing as aliens.
        After an hour of display time, everyone gathered together in the
cafetorium for the awards ceremony.  We showed a video of some of the
that had taken place and which the Communications magnet had edited together.
Then awards were presented for Rover Races, Planet Exploratory Toolkit,
Interplanetary landers, and writing logs, etc.  Before we ended the night
we had a software give away including webphone, internet in a box, and some
mars CD's thanks to some very generous vendors that were at the Trenton
Computer Festival in New Jersey.
        Everyone walked away with something and I hope aspirations of getting
further involved.

        Thanks to all of the help from PTK and NASA/JPL we had a great Mars
                                                - Rose