Successful Mars Landscape

From: Jo Lynne Roberts <>
Subject: Successful Mars Landscape
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 07:27:41 -0700 (PDT)

Dear Friends,

	About three weeks ago I posted a request for help in designing my
Mars landscape.  I thought you might like to share in our success
story...thanks to our wonderful on-line friends in this forum.
	After reading the advice from several of you we decided to have
the students make 8 inch by 8 inch scale models using red potters clay on
top of hardboard.  They began by making a scale drawing and then created
their 3-D model.  Our judeges (principal, and two business people) had a
very difficult time selecting which of the twenty models (done in teams of
4) would win.  The final verdict was to use the basic landscape from one,
addin a mountain range from another,  us a design from a third group to
hold up the scenery around the edges and use the art work from a fourth
group for the scenery.  The comprimise reminded me a great deal of the
final vote and outcome for the Hubble orbits!
	Standing at our local homebase at 10 p.m. we were getting
construction lessons from Scott who was sharing with us that working with
these materials we had selected was just like putting stucco on a house.
Needless to say Scott is new to the northwest....stucco is a rarity here.
Our procedure was to lay down metal sceendoor screen overtop of some
wooden framed features (mountains, craters.  On top of this we sprayed two
layers of joint compound colored with water based paint.  This wasn't our
original idea but it was what developed and the landscape looks great.  A
sack of lava rocks from a landscape center along with a hammer created
lava dust which gives the landscape character and realism.  A scattering
of lava rocks adds a great deal also.
	We (the kids of course) built a framework out of 2 x 2's around
the outside of the landscape.  It is about two feet tall.  Onto this we
staple gunned tag board that had been painted in a mural on plateas and
mountains.  It looks great.
	Our technology end has been somewhat frustrating but we are up and
running.  Our computer is so slow (if you do this project try to get the
fastest computer you can) that we frequently have glitches.  However when
it works it is wonderful.
	Five groups of students (6-10 per group) are making
thirty minute  presentations
to other classrooms in the school and then bringing them to our cluster to
see the landscape in action.  During the presentation they show the 7 !/2
minute video of the animated Pathfinder/Sojouner as well as do a demo on
craters (we're vacumming up flour everywhere!) and a quick river cutters
demo.  This has been quite a hit with the younger
kids.  We envision them going home and teaching their parents about
Pathfinder and Sojourner.  When they visit our site several kids get to
drive and they think this is pretty special!
	Two additional groups gathered cardboard and designed a real size
Pathfinder and Sojourner.  They demonstrate for our guests how the
craft will land and open.
	We are thrilled that the Science musuem in Portland Oregon (about
20 miles away) wants to showcase our project this summer.  It is planned
that they will be on-line with Planetfest.
	Thanks to all of you for your encouragement...this "miracle"
project would never have taken place without both your specific help and
your kind words.  We are have proven the power of this
forum by making our project a success.  THANK YOU!

The Sixth Grade Explorers

Jo Lynne Z. Roberts
Zellerbach Elementary
Camas, Washington...the state!