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The Mars Missions Flight isAFRL La Luz Academy’s class-room-based Mars colonization
simulation for fth graders.
It’s based on the ChallengerCenter for Space Science Edu-cation’s acclaimed
,the Cosmic Village
and has been modied to in
-clude Air Force technologiesand terminologies to provide aunique hands-on learning op-portunity for students.
What’s the MarsMissions Flight?
Students work in TEAMS intheir classroom throughout theschool year on various activi-ties, called Base Operations,that prepare them for their simu-lated manned mission to Mars.These activities are designedto be motivating and hands-on,while meeting many of the NewMexico and Common Core StateStandards in science, math, lan-guage arts, music, and art.Students work in TEAMS of
ve to seven
students to com-plete Base Op-erations at theirschool. TheBase Opera-tions include:writing a
that decribestheir journeyto Mars; designing a
Life Support System Model
based on those Facts.Each TEAM also
with two other TEAMSfrom different schools; cuts outtheir assigned 6-mil plastic
pieces; plans their nutritious,yet space- and weight-saving,astronaut
; and designs aTEAM
.The Flight culmi-nates in a Link-Up Day activ-ity in the spring,where TEAMScome togetherto simulate theMars Mission.Each TEAM pro-gresses througha series of hold-ing stations to ensure they havecompleted the necessary prepa-rations for Link-Up Day, receiv-ing points on a TEAM MissionLog. One of the holding stationsinvolves S&Es from the DoDwho review the student-designedlife support systen models.On Link-Up Day, students jointwo other TEAMS from dif-ferent schools to form a habitat
CREW, and construct inatable
plastic habitats measuring 12’ x12’ x 8’.Then, the grand finale:Each CREW links up theirhabitat to several other habitatsto form a colony. This is whereLink-Up Day gets its name.TEAM members and invitedguests then participate in an ex-ploration of the colony.
Teacher Trainingand Resources
We will be conducting teachertraining in October to helpteachers understand their role inthe Mars Missions Flight. Thereare two types of teacher train-ing: a full-day session for teach-ers who have not participated inthe Mars Missions Flight before,and a shorter version for return-ing teachers.There is a mandatory mid-yearmeeting for Mars MissionsFlight teachers in February, tohelp prepare teachers for Link-Up Day.Mars Missions Flight teach-ers also receive a Teacher’sResource Guide manual, andmonthly newsletters with valu-able Mars Missions Flight tipsand information.
Mars Missions Flight
Mars Microbial Asteroid Research Survey (MARS) Mission 2012-13
DoD STARBASE Flight
DoD STARBASE is a premiereducational program sponsored
by the Ofce of the Assistant
Secretary of Defense for Re-serve Affairs. AFRL La LuzAcademy implements this pro-
gram for fth grade elemen
-tary school students as the DoDSTARBASE Flight.Students come to the AFRL La
Luz Academy for ve non-consec
-utive days during the school year.The inquiry-based curriculumfocuses on topics which includePhysics, Chemistry, Technol-ogy, Engineering, MathematicsOperations and Applications,and STEM Careers.Air Force Core Values (
Integ-rity First, Service Before Self,
Excellence in All We Do
)are embedded in the activitiesstudents complete.
What’s the DoDSTARBASE Flight?
During the ve curriculum
days, students engage in manyhands-on, mind-on activities.Teamwork is stressed as the stu-dents work together to explore,explain, elaborate, and evaluateconcepts. They study Newton’sLaws and Bernoulli’s Principle,and explore nanotechnology,navigation, and mapping. Stu-dents investigate engineering us-ing computers to design spacestations.Math is embedded throughoutthe curriculum, using metricmeasurement, estimation, cal-culation geometry, and dataanalysis to solve questions.Scientists, engineers, and mili-tary volunteers from AFRL andKAFB apply abstract principlesto real world situations by as-sisting with the implementationof activities and giving interac-tive demonstrations on the useof STEM in different settingsand careers. For example, cryo-genics experts from the AFRLuse liquid nitrogen to freezevarious objects as students ex-plore states of matter and ther-mal dynamics.The DoD STARBASE Flightteaches STEM in ways thatteachers may not have thetime, resources, and ex-pertise to do in a regularclassroom. It’s experiential,exploratory learning, and it tiesdirectly to local educationalcontent standards and bench-marks.To extend the impact of DoDSTARBASE, we conduct DoDSTARBASE 2.0 programs atselect middle schools servingformer DoD STARBASE Flightstudents. This program incorpo-rates mentoring and STEM proj-ects to increase student interest,knowledge, school attachment,and career awareness.
pic byHoward Huttel
“I learned that teamwork reallymakes a difference.”
--2011-12 MM Flight student,Bellehaven Elementary School
“One good thing about Marsis we were using a lot of math.”
--2011-12 MM Flight student,La Luz Elementary School
“They make you want to be ascientist or engineer, and go tocollege and get a math or sciencescholarship.”
2011-12 DoD STARBASE Flight student,Mesa View Elementary School