Student Activity #1: Driving Blind
Grade level: Grades 6 - 10.
Approximate time commitment: 10 - 12 hours.
Skills: mapping, measurement, writing, cooperative problem-solving.
Concepts: mapping, proportional reasoning.
Overview: students modify a radio-controlled car or truck to perform a mission without actually being there! They make a map of a "rock field" from a TV screen, convert a R/C car into a "Mars rover," develop an experiment for the rover, and guide the rover through the rock field without being in its physical presence. The procedures are executed within the context of a robotic mission to Mars. They will communicate, solve problems collaboratively, connect their experiences to actual space missions, develop research questions, and evaluate their work.
Learning objective: students use scientific knowledge and methods to collaboratively design and implement solutions to engineering problems.
Time management options:
Outline of procedure (click underlined text for more details):
1. Prepare yourself by reading the Introduction and the responsibilities of each team (job descriptions).
2. Update students on Mars and the Pathfinder mission.
3. Prepare a "test rock-field" and have the entire class create scale maps of the test rock-field.
4. Select team members and a location for the "lander."
5. Establish a schedule for teams and monitor their work. Adjust as necessary.
6. Run a "mission." Repeat as interest or necessity dictates.
7. Organize the presentation of final reports for each team and submit the mission final report.
Mars Navigator CD can be ordered from Kurt Gramoll, 405-325-3171
JPL Video Archive
JPL Video catalog
Link to applicable AAAS Benchmarks, NAS Standards, and WA ELARs
Pathfinder Sojourner home page
Long Range Science Rover
Micro Rover Photo Gallery
NASA Space Telerobotics Program "Cool Robot Of The Week"
Laboratory for Perceptual Robotics
Nakano Laboratory Public Home Page, active robots
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Robotics
Space Related resources--
NASA JSC Space Educators' Handbook
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
AAAS Project 2061
Benchmarks For Science Literacy
National Science Education Standards
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for the state of Washington
Washington State Commission on Student Learning
Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) for Washigton State
Note: You may download a text version of the entire activity.