he Mars Mission at VSSEC is the culmination of the VSSEC Earth & Space Unit for years 8 & 9.
Prior to the Mission students use information and activities from a VSSEC/Google Sites website to build their understanding of the Earth including the nature of rocks and minerals, and the role of plate tectonics in continental movement and geological activity. This work will also add to their appreciation of science as a human endeavour, illustrating the way theories are developed and modified. The Mars Mission itself is a strong field trip experience demanding skills in data and sample collection and leading to deep analysis in the final laboratory session.
The pre-mission program provides students with the background knowledge, skills and context for their mission at VSSEC. It is estimated that the material provided will take a minimum of six 45 minute periods to cover. Over the course of the Unit students will create a Science Workbook which they will bring to VSSEC and add to during and after the Mission to Mars.
Students who have not worked on the VSSEC Earth and Space Science Unit will be at a disadvantage on the Mission to Mars.
The VSSEC Earth and Space Unit will guide students through all of the Earth and Space Science in the Australian/Victorian curriculum. VSSEC expects that teachers will guide students through the work at an appropriate level for their year. At year 8 the fundamental nature of rocks and minerals will be learnt with plate tectonics only mentioned as an extension activity or an aside. At year 9 minerals and rocks will be reviewed briefly and plate tectonics treated in depth.
There is a Curriculum Map for Year 8 Earth and Space Science here.
There is a Curriculum Map for Year 9 Earth and Space Science here.
These curriculum maps describe the learning targets, behavioural objectives and performance achievements for this section of AusVELS. These maps were developed for the Western Metropolitan Region by VSSEC in collaboration with five regional Secondary Colleges. They may be superseded in the future by curriculum maps from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) .