Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.
|Live From Mars is an electronic field trip that can take you
and your students along on one of the most exciting scientific adventures
of this decade. But LFM also has the potential to make significant
to your students' learning of, and attitude towards science; advance your
own professional growth through exposure to cutting-edge knowledge and
state-of-the-art technology, and boost your school systems' effectiveness
as a valuable launch pad for 21st Century learning.
Ambitious thoughts? High-flying rhetoric? Another educational gimmick? I think not. In fact, I have rearranged my Grade 6 science curriculum over the past three years in order to implement previous Modules from the Passport to Knowledge series. Live From Antarctica, Live From the Stratosphere, and Live From the Hubble Space Telescope were all unique, and did not always precisely parallel my course of study. So how was I able to rationalize to students, parents and administrators the "fine tuning" of my curriculum and schedule which was necessary each year to implement an electronic field trip?
Quite simply, the Live From... specials were too good to miss! Let me share my reasoning by listing the following special opportunities which I think Live From Mars will also provide:
Mike Malin, designer and builder of Mars camera systems, Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, CA ...The most interesting part of my job today is thinking up new instruments for future missions. There is tremendous competition to provide instruments for up-coming spaceflights, and the things that limit what we can do (size, weight, power, and cost), added to the intensity of the competition, make for an exciting challenge.
I decided to work in a space-related field when I was very young. Exactly when I cannot remember, but I clipped articles from newspapers that described rocket flights several years before the first satellites were orbited (when I was 5 or 6 years old). Throughout my education, I studied as much science as I could, in class, by going to the public library and reading, and by visiting the Griffith Park Planetarium (in Los Angeles, where I grew up). I continued to keep a scrapbook of newpaper and magazine articles until I went to college...
I am not a science teacher, and so I don't have the opportunity to do all the interesting experiments and to adequately follow the lesson plans in the guide... I teach English as a second language on the high school level. I have students from all over the world... but many of them are on the elementary level in terms of their language, science, and social studies background. The Live From Antarctica project was a mind-blowing experience for them. That is why we are back again this year for more excitement....I am using all the materials, messages, updates, journals, questions and answers as our reading materials-as my vehicle for teaching vocabulary enrichment and reading comprehension skills. They will be getting science concepts at the same time. and it is real! It is not dry workbooks.... I have spent the last few days replaying the videos, pausing often, to translate and explain everything which is said. All the unfamiliar words go on the blackboard, are explained, and then the tape is replayed so they can again hear the words used in context. This is listening comprehension, but it is not artificial, it is real.
Barbara Weinman, ESL Teacher, NJ
Previous Passport to Knowledge Live From... modules could be
implemented in four to six weeks. These interactive, multimedia Modules
make excellent interdisciplinary units-with all disciplines enhancing and
enriching the science content. |
Live From Mars, however, differs from the previous Live From... modules in an important and quite challenging aspect. This electronic field trip will be following two missions to Mars in Real Time-from the launches of Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Pathfinder in November/December1996 through the touchdown of Mars Pathfinder on the Red Planet on or around July 4, 1997, and continuing as scientists (and students) receive and analyze the data from MPF and MGS on through 1997 and into 1998. In short, this electronic field trip-from launch through landing-spans two academic school years! The implementation of this unique learning experience requires flexibility in planning; you may find one of the following models suitable for your own situation.
Model A Teacher will have class for one academic year only
Follow the suggested timeline for Programs 1 and 2, and complete Activities coordinated with Programs 3 and 5 as a "set" or preview for the next phases of the missions to Mars. Students should be encouraged to continue following the mission by watching newscasts and other special programs in the summer of 1997, catching up -if possible-with broadcasts 4 and 5 on PBS, or NASA-TV in the 1997-98 school year (broadcast information to be announced), and monitoring the missions' further progress via on-line and print media reports.
Model B Teachers in consecutive grade levels team up to implement LFM over two years
For example, if LFM were implemented in grades 5 and 6, the fifth grade (Class A) would complete activities suggested in the Teacher's Guide for Programs 1-3 during the 1996-97 school year. When matriculated into grade 6 (1997-98), these students (Class A) would review their previous experiences (using Program 4) and continue their Mission to Mars with the activities coordinated with Program 5. The 1996-97 sixth grade (Class B), however, would follow Model A.
Model C Home schoolers or "looping" teachers
Implement Live From Mars as detailed in project timeline (co-packaged with guide).
Model D New class of students in the 1997-98 school year (or beyond)
Implement Live From Mars as a complete project, utilizing taped broadcast from 1996-97, the printed Guide and on-line resources. Check out the discuss-lfm archive online to learn what worked best for teachers the year before, and build on their successes!
A special challenge? You bet-but the rewards are worth the effort. And the real winners will be our students.
Teachers' comments on student responses to PTK's
Live from the Hubble Space Telescope|
"Hands-On became minds-on. Great stuff for an inner-city
"My students are realizing that they can communicate with people
around the world, and realizing the vast possibilities for jobs in today's
... they got a feel for the importance of the work being done, and some of
the dark science was brought to light.
"With a modem-equipped computer, a universe of information is
(literally) at one's fingertips."