Robotic Mission to Mars Teacher Professional Learning Program

Robotic Mission to Mars Teacher Professional Learning Program
Wednesday 18th April, 2012

Are you looking for new ways to engage your students in science?
Do you want to develop 21st Century skills?
Learn how to drive the VSSEC Mars rover from your school in real time and collect data for analysis.


This Professional Learning program for teachers will introduce the new VSSEC Robotic Mission to Mars program for Year 10 students. This program was developed to provide effective on-line learning for schools who couldn't access VSSEC's Centre-based programs. The Robotic Mission to Mars is open to all Australian schools and interstate teachers are welcome to attend this Professional Learning program. An optional full day introduction to VSSEC's programs is available for interstate teachers on Tuesday April 16th. Please contact VSSEC for more information.

Date: Wednesday April 18th, 2012
Time: 9.00am – 4.30pm
Venue: VSSEC
Cost: $50 plus GST (Total Cost $55)
(includes materials, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea)
Maximum participants: 24
RSVP: March 30th, 2012

The program includes:

- Research-based strategies for effective science teaching and learning: An introduction to research conducted by McREL and how the resulting strategies can be used to deliver effective on-line learning.

- Pre-mission Maths and Science Program: The Robotic Mission to Mars includes a Maths and Science program which uses the context of the mission to teach core maths and science concepts. Teachers will be given an overview of these programs and complete one hands-on activity from each.

- Mars Site Selection Research Program: Before conducting their mission students investigate potential Mars landing sites suitable for a robotic mission. They investigate and understand the different engineering and scientific objectives, and the need for teamwork and problem solving using the same case-making and voting process used by the scientists and engineers at NASA. This activity was developed in collaboration with Marion Anderson from the School of Geoscience at Monash University and reflects her experience of participating in the site selection for Spirit and Opportunity and the new Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity. This activity is presented as a Google Site to facilitate student-centred learning and includes appropriate resources and references for the learning standard of the student

- Mission Training Program: Before starting the mission students must select their role and learn how to operate the systems and instruments they are responsible.

- Robotic Mission to Mars: Teachers will investigate each of the roles and learn how to facilitate a mission in their school. They will learn how to drive the rover, extend the robotic arm, control the pan-tilt camera, analyse samples and interpret the collected data.

- Robotic Mission to Mars Laboratory Session: The Robotic Mission to Mars was developed to provide effective on-line learning for schools who are unable to visit VSSEC. In addition to the school-based program, VSSEC offers the option of conducting the program at VSSEC. The VSSEC program includes an additional laboratory session. This session provides an overview of the laboratory session, analysis of soil using the Infrared Spectrometer, and water analysis using the Atomic Absorption Spectrometer.

This Professional Learning Program complies with the following Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) Standards of Professional Practice for Renewal of Registration:

StandardTo a high degreeTo some degreeTo a minor degreeNot at all
Professional Knowledge1
Professional Practice4
Professional Engagement7

This program is listed on the (VIT) Pdi website.
VSSEC student programs that support this topic:
Robotic Mission to Mars