Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.

Teachers' Guide

Getting the Most from Online

The on-line components of Live From Mars (LFM) not only provide extensive information but also--perhaps more importantly--help the project come alive by connecting people together...

  • linking students and teachers directly with NASA experts

  • allowing students to collaborate with other students

  • encouraging teachers to interact with one another and with the LFM Team

    The Passport to Knowledge philosophy is ease of use and equity of access. We want teachers with a wide range of network skills and technologies--from simple e-mail up to full T-1 connectivity--to find success. LFM will work for those just getting started in cyberspace, even if their access is not from the classroom but at home or at the workplace of an involved parent. For schools with a little more technology and training, inexpensive cameras and free software can bring moving images and audio into classrooms, via CU-SeeMe, RealAudio and other similar technologies

    How to start

    All participants in Live From Mars should sign up for the updates-lfm mail-list. This service won't overwhelm your mailbox (we plan no more than two e-mail messages per week). updates-lfm will keep you informed about the latest opportunities and also bring you lively behind-the-scenes accounts (Field Journals) from the men and women on the front lines of exploring Mars. Field Journals can be used as reading exercises, discussion starters, or for information about careers.

    To join the updates-lfm mail-list, send an e-mail message to:

    In the body of the message, write only these words:

    subscribe updates-lfm

    You'll soon receive a reply showing you're subscribed, and full information about Live From Mars.

  • Getting On-line for the First Time

    If you want to get on-line, but aren't, follow these suggestions:

    1) Watch out for Net Day in your state or city... and make sure you're included!

    2) Ask your colleagues. It's easy to forget those closest at hand! It's likely there are teachers, administrators, or resource personnel who know what's available locally.

    3) Don't forget your students. Today's youth is often leading the charge in this exciting arena.

    4) Don't forget your students' parents: there's probably a relative with an Internet connection.

    5) Check with a local University, most have some type of connectivity available, and some provide it to fellow educators.

    6) Call your School Administrators, School District, County Office, and/or State Board of Education. Inquire about special deals on hardware, phone rates or Internet subscriptions--some are there for the asking.

    Other mail-lists available via e-mail include:

    mail-list name who posts function frequency dates
    updates-lfm PTK Team LFM info & Field Journals 1 or 2 per week throughout project
    discuss-lfm educators teachers share ideas varies, perhaps 15-30/week throughout
    discuss-digest-lfm educators teachers share ideas once daily only throughout
    debate-lfm student teams students plan Planet Explorer Toolkit varies 10-11/96
    answers-lfm PTK Team stream of Question/Answer pairs varies 10/96-12/97/TBA

    To join any of these groups, send an e-mail message to:

    In the message body, write only these words: subscribe
    For example: subscribe discuss-lfm

    To participate via the World Wide Web ("the Web", or WWW)

    Temporary Acess

    If you can get online only temporarily, visit "Getting U.S. Teachers On-line", a Web document found at:

    As noted above, teachers using all three components of PTK projects report they and their students get more from the experience. We really encourage you to go on-line, participate, and--as one of our most eloquent PTK Advocates puts it--"Don't just surf the 'Net, make waves!"

    Live From Mars Web Site

    LFM's Web Site provides three complementary kinds of on-line materials and experiences, some designed for teachers, and some for students:

  • Informational
  • Interactive
  • Collaborative and Sharing
  • Informational opportunities include:

  • An archive of Biographies and Field Journals Get to know the men and women of the NASA missions through their personal stories--what they were like as kids, their diverse career paths, day-to-day activities, their dreams and frustrations, and why they thrive on all the hard work of exploring Mars!

  • Backgrounders--packed with information about Mars and current and future missions. Also, lots of pictures and pointers to other great Mars Web sites.

  • Image Processing in the Classroom: designed to engage visual learners, and providing software to simulate what the career astronomers are doing.

    Interactive Resources

  • Researcher Q&A (Question and Answer) Mars experts will be available to answer student questions via e-mail. The resource will be supported from October 1996 through the end of the project's interactive phase (exact date TBD.). All questions will be answered, and all Q&A pairs will be archived and searchable using simple key-words.

  • Live interactions with Mars experts. Using technologies such as WebChat and CU-SeeMe, Mars experts will connect with your students in real-time. Live events will be scheduled about once per month from October 1996 through the end of the project.

  • A discussion group connecting teachers to one another and to the LFM Team is available via e-mail and on the Web. Weekly WebChats are also arranged for the same purpose.

  • Challenge Questions Once per week, for the six weeks prior to each live television broadcast, a new brainteaser will provide your students with a challenge to solve. Submit your answers for a chance at fun prizes.
  • Collaborative and Sharing

  • The Planet Explorer Toolkit

    As an Opening Activity, students brainstorm what instruments might be needed to document a landscape in their neighborhood, then go on-line to arrive at a consensus decision about how to design an Instrument Package. Then they record their sites, share the data on-line, analyze their results --and use them to figure out where five Mystery Sites are located, based on patterns of temperature, geology, flora and fauna, and other indicators determined by the students themselves. Winners will be announced on-line and on-camera. (updates-lfm and the Web Site will have full details.)

  • As Closing Activities, this Guide suggests "Where Next?" and "To Terraform or Not to Terraform?": while an individual classroom can undertake these, debate-lfm will provide an on-line forum in which your students arguments can be heard.

  • Student Stumpers Students create riddles for other students to answer via direct e-mail; dialogue between youngsters is the goal.

  • Student Gallery Examples of stellar student work are collected on-line and displayed for the World (Wide Web) to see.

    If you want the World Wide Web, but only have e-mail...

    Many of the LFM WWW materials are also available to "e-mail only" users through a special service; for more details, send a message to: