Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.

Teachers' Guide

A Unique Oportunity
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 contributions 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:

  • Live From Mars will make your classroom a place for active student learning
  • Live From Mars will connect your students to working scientists applying in the real world many of the principles you'll first present to them in the classroom
Mike Malin

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...

  • Passport to Knowledge activities help teachers meet many of the objectives outlined in the National Science Standards (National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council) and the Benchmarks For Scientific Literacy (AAAS/Project 2061) (See Matrix, inside back cover of this Guide)
  • Live From Mars encourages the use of current and appropriate assessment practices which will help you meet district and state-wide mandates for which you probably have no extra books, or budgets, or materials!
  • Live From Mars suggests relevant, flexible, immediate and practical ways to use new and emerging information technologies. Many schools are in the process of getting wired up to the 'Net and acquiring the hardware to incorporate the new technology. This major capital outlay will result in close scrutiny on the part of your administration, Board of Education and your community about its effectiveness. Too often the software, the content, gets left until last. Live From Mars provides structured, pedagogically sound and SAFE use of the Internet for students
  • In line with current pedagogical theory and NSF's new initiative to engage parents more directly in their youngster's education, Live From Mars provides an opportunity for extensive and positive public outreach. Many teachers have made parents and community resources part of their previous electronic field trip experience-extending, enhancing and reinforcing student learning and excitement. And this dynamic multimedia experience affords wonderful opportunities for positive publicity for your class, school and district.
Barbara Weinman

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

A Special Challenge
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!

  • Note: All materials, Teacher's Guide, videotapes, on-line access, will continue to be available beyond 1997.

    A special challenge? You bet-but the rewards are worth the effort. And the real winners will be our students.

    Patricia Haddon
    Summit Middle School Summit, New Jersey

  • 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 school."
    - 6th grade teacher, FL

    "My students are realizing that they can communicate with people around the world, and realizing the vast possibilities for jobs in today's world."
    - 2nd grade teacher, UT "

    ... they got a feel for the importance of the work being done, and some of the dark science was brought to light.
    They started to understand the electromagnetic spectrum."
    - amateur astronomer assisting a classroom teacher "...through the Internet they can travel anywhere and ask questions of experts in any field.

    - 7th and 8th grade teacher, IL

    "With a modem-equipped computer, a universe of information is (literally) at one's fingertips."
    - 5th grade teacher, TX