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Short Description: Mars robotics activities provide ideal ways to help students understand the role of engineering and technology in today's world. From looking at personal robots to those we send to other worlds, these activities will help students learn the different elements necessary to design, build and support robotic missions to the Red Planet.
Far Ranging Robots
Grade Level: 5-8
Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity (Mars)
Science Education Standards:
By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that
- Technology enables scientists and others to observe things that are too small or too far away to be seen otherwise and to study the motion of objects that are moving very rapidly or are hardly moving at all. 3A/E2
- Measuring instruments can be used to gather accurate information for making scientific comparisons of objects and events and for designing and constructing things that will work properly. 3A/E3
- There is no perfect design. Designs that are best in one respect (safety or ease of use, for example) may be inferior in other ways (cost or appearance). Usually some features must be sacrificed to get others. 3B/E1*
- Even a good design may fail. Sometimes steps can be taken ahead of time to reduce the likelihood of failure, but it cannot be entirely eliminated. 3B/E2
- The solution to one problem may create other problems. 3B/E3
By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that
- Technology is essential to science for such purposes as access to outer space and other remote locations, sample collection and treatment, measurement, data collection and storage, computation, and communication of information. 3A/M2
- Engineers, architects and others who engage in design and technology use scientific knowledge to solve practical problems. They also usually have to take human values and limitations into account. 3A/M3*
- The most common ways to prevent failure are pretesting of parts and procedures, overdesign, and redundancy. 3B/M4b
National Science Education Standards
Science and Technology -- Content Standard E
UNDERSTANDINGS ABOUT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
- Scientific inquiry and technological design have similarities and differences. Scientists propose explanations for questions about the natural world, and engineers propose solutions relating to human problems, needs and aspirations. Technological solutions are temporary; technologies exist within nature and so they cannot contravene physical or biological principles; technological solutions have side effects; and technologies cost, carry risks, and provide benefits.
- Science and technology are reciprocal. Science helps drive technology, as it addresses questions that demand more sophisticated instruments and provides principles for better instrumentation and technique. Technology is essential to science, because it provides instruments and techniques that enable observations of objects and phenomena that are otherwise unobservable due to factors such as quantity, distance, location, size, and speed. Technology also provides tools for investigations, inquiry, and analysis.
- Perfectly designed solutions do not exist. All technological solutions have trade-offs, such as safety, cost, efficiency, and appearance. Engineers often build in back-up systems to provide safety. Risk is part of living in a highly technological world. Reducing risk often results in new technology.
- Technological designs have constraints. Some constraints are unavoidable, for example, properties of materials, or effects of weather and friction; other constraints limit choices in the design, for example, environmental protection, human safety, and aesthetics.
Source: ASU Mars K-12 Education Program