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To MARS with MER - Educators Dear Educators school, at home, in science centers and planetarium, or leading groups of young people in any setting!

That's a pretty broad definition of "Educators", but "To MARS with MER" is about informal science education, as well as classroom instruction, and we plan to share the mission in ways that reach many different audiences. However, this section of the website also provides special resources and tools that may be of particular use in formal education.

Amazingly enough, one of the first human explorers to set foot on Mars may be sitting in your classroom, or visiting your science center, right now. Some may be getting their first glimpse of the Red Planet through the videos we'll be broadcasting throughout 2003 and 2004, and gaining their first understanding of what Mars is like, and how it's different from and similar to Earth, through the hands-on activities you choose to implement in class, at home or in your planetarium.

Throughout both years, we'll be following NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers project, with the first landing of the Spirit rover already successful at Gusev Crater in the evening of January 3, 2004. The second "identical twin" landed safely on January 24, 2004, at a geologically very different location, Meridiani Planum, on the opposite side of the planet. But you and your students won't just be following the spacecraft. You'll also be meeting the men and women who give these robotic missions their heart and soul, their mind and imagination. We have been adding BIOgraphies and Journals throughout the years, and in the INTERACT section you'll find out how your students and young visitors can submit questions and get back answers during the live programs via ON-AIR.

Check out the left hand panel in this Educators section of the P2K website:

Goals and Objectives shares with you why we applied to NSF for support. Our hope, plan, dream and vision is to get more young people interested in, and involved with, science, engineering, math and technology, using the inherent excitement of Mars and the Mars Exploration Rovers mission as a hook.

Please Register so we know who's participating: we share this data with no-one outside the project: it's only used to help us gauge what grades and groups are watching and gearing up to interact. If you missed the videos on your local PBS station, the Order Form allows you to order tapes direct from P2K. Activities provides fun but information-rich hands-on experiences directly related to key mission milestones: several of these are featured in our May 1, 2003 special, COUNTDOWN TO MARS or in the January 17, 2004, FIRST LOOK broadcast. Or you can order our printed LIVE FROM MARS Teacher's Guide with lots of great hands-on activities and copy masters of student worksheets and teacher handouts.

NASA's two current Mars orbiters, Global Surveyor and Odyssey, are also returning amazing new images: Imaging presents a teacher-friendly primer on remote sensing and how to use image processing software in class, from a working educator's perspective. (Thanks, Scott Coletti, author of these materials supporting an earlier P2K project with NASA Ames' Quest team.)

We've also provide Teacher Tips about how to get the most out of participating in "To MARS with MER", including collecting questions for ON-AIR, or how to hold a Star Party. If you're watching in class, we also provide some very practical Program Viewing Tips (leave the lights on!) to ensure the experience is both fun and memorable. P2K is also very pleased to offer a cadre of experienced Mentors-veterans of previous P2K projects-who are willing to respond to any questions you might have.

And if you need to know what Science Standards studying Mars and exploratory spacecraft can help you achieve, check out the National and State-by-State listings. We think that should convince your administration your kids aren't "just having fun," they're tackling some of the core content you have to teach anyway!

If you'd like to know more about PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE and its impact on student learning outcomes, and lots of case study data from classrooms around the nation, check Assessment, linking to evaluations and reports dating from our earlier NSF and NASA grants.

Classroom Connection lets you see some of the impressive student work from our earlier LIVE FROM MARS project which followed Mars Pathfinder and Global Surveyor to the Red Planet in 1996 and 1997. Whether you're an educator at home, school or science center, send us pictures of your youngster participating in "To MARS with MER" and your thoughts, and we'd be delighted to add them here.

Last is an archive of a 1996 national teacher professional development meeting, which became a Virtual Mars Conference reaching 43 sites across the US and 16 international locations. Over 120 teachers, from every state but one, met in D.C. and heard from NASA scientists, brainstormed hands-on activities, and practiced the then-new tools of the Internet. Within a year, they'd held workshops and meetings impacting over 10,000 other teachers, a very satisfying multiplier effect.

If you've not already done so, you're invited to subscribe to the DISCUSS-MARS mail lists: the first is a moderated discussion forum especially for formal and informal science educators, and the latter is the TMwM project's online newsletter. From now through the end of May 2004, it should be published once a week.

Good luck as you and your students fly to Mars with the rovers and the NASA scientists, researchers and engineers who've built them, and then follow what we hope will be many months of surface operations. This "electronic field trip" is truly out of this world. Glad to have you with us, and very much hoping to hear from you, via DISCUSS-MARS or CONTACT.

Onwards and Upwards,
Geoff Haines-Stiles, Project Director, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE and the LIVE FROM specials
Erna Akuginow, Executive Producer, P2K and the LIVE FROM specials
Eileen Bendixsen, P2K On-line Moderator