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Learning Labs

space science and engineering

Mission to Mars:
Living in Space

Students use 21st-century learning skills and technologies to support a colony on Mars. They'll investigate how to best meet needs for food, water, power and a safe atmosphere using real research.

About the lab

  • Grades: 6-8
  • Capacity: 30 students
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Cost: $120
  • Offered Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 10:15 and 11:45 a.m.

Next Generation Science Standards

Science and Engineering Practices:

Asking questions and defining problems
Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Engaging in argument from evidence
Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Crosscutting Concepts:

Patterns
Energy and matter
Structure and function

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

PS 3: Energy
LS 2: Ecosystems
ESS 1: Earth's place in the universe
ESS 3: Earth and human activity
ETS 1: Engineering design
ETS 2: Links among engineering, technology, science and society

Illinois Learning Standards

4: A, B; 10: A, B; 11: A, B; 12: D, F; 13: A, B

Lab goals

Students will:

  • Explore STEM education with a focus on NASA research, missions, goals and aims.
  • Gain skills in searching online resources, communicating effectively with peers and adult role models and practicing 21st century science and technology skills.
  • Work collaboratively to tackle many of the same challenges that NASA scientists are confronting themselves in the effort to travel to and inhabit Mars.
  • Engage in inquiry-based and hands-on science learning experiences.
  • Collaborate between peer groups.
  • Be exposed to working scientists and other personnel at partnering NASA centers.