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Mission To Mars

After the success of our first robotics break out, I was asked to develop something which could help the school I worked at celebrate the successful re-designation as an Apple Distinguished School (ADS). You can find the book which I wrote to support this in the resources.

The theme for the project was all about space, we were very lucky in being able to have Mikolaj Zielinski, who is going to be part of Mars One, come and present to educators at the first digital learning summit and he also spent time with the students and spoke to them about what life will be like on Mars.

So a Mission To Mars was created. With the previous learning experience, I had considered how to make the experience similar fro all groups. We did this by having the islands of Reptonia be symmetrical. the Mission to Mars also needed to be the same. I had to consider how I was going to be able to integrate a range of schools in one area and to make the team and challenge equal. By using islands, we allowed different teams to work on the same scenarios creating a fair and accurate scoring card.

To do this, we created 4 identical planets which had the same creators, areas of resistance and landing zones (I was very lucky to have a team of creative TAs who could see my vision) as well as the central point, the Mars Space Centre.

Once I knew what it would look like and what team sizes would be, all that was left was to develop the scenarios. Students in this competition needed to be showing their critical thinking, problem solving and coding skills.

Students did a range of activities with robotics, all linked to the iPad device.

  • Developed Maps using photos and mark up tool
  • De-bugged code in Milo Space Rovers to get him from A-B
  • Move Sphero to specific coordinates in space
  • Drive the SkriBot across the planet
  • Land a Parrot Drone to search for water on the planet
  • Use the Parrot Drone to photograph forms of life
  • Use the Sphero to drive around the planet across the different terrains
  • Use the EV3 to transport items across the planet

Every team had the same kit to use and they all had an iPad device each. Students received different points for different scenarios and had to map out their journey using the iPad as proof of landing success. This was then recorded by the judge at each team area.

In addition to this, students took part in a Kahoot quiz, gaining skills points by answering questions on science and technology. This helped to bridge the time for those students who were in-between tasks.

Each team had students from our Digital Team who were there because of their skills in using the iPad, coding and programming of robotics. This leveled the playing field as some of the schools who had not used devices before as part of the learning experience.

There was much to be taken from this. By the fourth learning experience, there had been many changes in the planning and development to ensure everything ran smoothly. There was a lot of infrastructure in the back ground.

If you would like to know more about having a Learning Experience Designed for your school contact me via the link below.

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