discuss group very valuable

From: "Marske, Lucy" <lcymrsk@sioux-center.k12.ia.us>
Subject: discuss group very valuable
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 1997 17:25:05 -0500

Hello everyone,
     I guess I haven't really actually written any messages lately, but
that doesn't mean I don't keep up with discuss-lfm.  There have been
many valuable suggestions made that I have used and responded to
individually and have greatly appreciated all the ideas, etc.
     My year started out with Mars and/or solar system activities.  We
made a scale model, by size, of the solar system, and we made an
animated (using the students) scale model, by distance, of the solar
system (good excuse for going outside.)  Using some video from last year
we watched the launches of the MGS and the Pathfinder and other
informative tapes I had, and we did a multimedia exploration of the two
missions using the Mars Navigator CD-ROM, some packets I got from AZ
k-12 Mars Educational materials, and the internet.  We did some
simulations of how some of the instruments on the MGS worked.  I think I
posted my idea of the TES instrument using light boxes last year.  If
anyone is interested I could repost.  
    I made up an MOI and aerobraking activity the students did outside
so they'd understand it.  One person was "Mars" and one person was the
"MGS".  Then about two thirds of the class held hands on one side of
"Mars" and the other third held hands on the other side.  They
represented Mars's atmosphere.  Holding hands showed how gravity held
the atmosphere to "Mars".   Then "MGS" came running toward the last
person on the long side of "Mars" and, with their own power, slowed down
to be grabbed by him/her.  After being slowed down, "MGS" orbited "Mars"
in a very elliptical orbit going under the raised hands of the
"atmospheres".  With each orbit "MGS" got closer and closer to "Mars"
until he/she formed a circular orbit fairly close to "Mars".  The kids
had a great time and took turns being "Mars" and "MGS".
     We participated in a web chat with Ken Edgett.  We had learned
about his TES and how it worked so we enjoyed meeting someone we had
been learning about.  Unfortunately the web chats come at a very awkward
time for our schedule, but I do hope to participate in more in the
     I was involved in Red Rover Red Rover last year and kept the rover
and the landscapes so my studentsthis year had the opportunity to
control the rover.  I arranged an interdisciplinary activity with Social
Studies teacher.  We put grid marks on the landscapes from last year.
Then students in the Soc. Studies room, controlled the rover for the
purpose of finding three rocks placedon the landscape by students who
were in my room.  When they found a rock they were to plot it on graph
paper according to the grid, to name it, and to describe it.  Does this
sound like a Sojourner simulation?  Well that's what it was.  The
students had lots of fun doing this activity.  We even had technical
difficulties we had to adapt to.  Sound familiar?  I am trying to do
this activity with the 7th graders so they have a follow up acitivity
from last year.  I'm working with the TAG teacher.
     We started WEATHER WORLDS doing research with books, Mars Navigator
CD-ROM, and sites on the internet.  I used Mike Reynolds's idea for
teams, and the students seemed to enjoy this method.  We haven't quite
gotten our proposal posted, but hope to do that tomorrow.  Other
curriculum duties/responsibilities interrupted our progress for WW.
Since we didn't really see the form for posting our proposal for WW, it
might not follow it exactly because we may not have gone into as much
depth as the form really requires.  But we'll submit our proposal with
what we have, and it has been a good learning opportunity no matter
what.  We look forward to the rest of the project.  I like Ginny
Dexter's organization too, and I think I'll use it for when we gather
the data. 
     I am now doing other curriculum  units, but will take time out when
necessary for WEATHER WORLDS.
     Thanks everyone for all the help, and Live From Mars is alive and
well here at Sioux Center Middle School in Iowa.

Lucy Marske, 6th grade teacher
Sioux Center Middle School
Sioux Center, IA