Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.

Headbone Derby

The Headbone Derby is a fun, effective curricular tool designed to help teachers and students use the World Wide Web constructively. In particular, the Headbone Derby teaches children how to locate information on the Web by using effective techniques and tools. The derby is designed for teams of 4th - 8th graders, though previous derbies have been played with great success by kids all the way from 1st through 12th grades.

The derby first engages kids by presenting them with an entertaining story in comic-strip form. At the end of each episode, players are tasked to find a specific piece of information, and are given the tools and support to find this information by searching the Web. (Players are welcome to use conventional sources such as dictionaries and encyclopedias as well.)

Beyond helping with research skills, the derby meets many curricular requirements by exercising kids' reading comprehension skills and expanding their knowledge of various subject areas.

In the spring derby "Mystery on Mars," students will learn about astronomy, geography, geology, history, mathematics and general science. Furthermore, the puzzles are varied in nature to employ verbal, visual and analytical styles of thinking.

The story line for "Mystery on Mars" takes place on the planet Mars. Fourteen-year-old sci-fi heroine Isabelle LeGrande and her sidekick, Augustus T. Robot, have traveled to the red planet for a much-needed vacation. No sooner do they arrive when Auggie finds all his data on Mars erased from his built-in hard drive. Who could be behind this? Is some other form of life lurking nearby?

Kids will have to dig up critical information about Mars to further the plot and resolve the mystery of life on Mars. In the process they will peruse a wide range of educational Web sites including university astronomy sites, museums, history sites and NASA.

Participation in the derby is free. The contest runs from March 16 until May 21 and you can register and participate anytime up to the end. Prizes will be awarded May 23 and include a laptop computer for the teacher of the winning team..

Get involved by webbing over to The Headbone Derby.