This year's Mars Home Expedition experience has been out of this world for our first-grade students!
As part of their PYP unit, "Where We Are In Place and Time," the annual class project includes engaging exercises that explore how we can create prototypes for future civilizations on Mars.
First-graders kicked off the unit with a field trip to the Sharpe Planetarium at Memphis Museum of Science and History to experience the wonders of constellations, planets and space travel from a giant dome-shaped projection screen.
Following their immersive off-campus experience, students planned for a future civilization on Mars right from their classrooms. The first-graders researched the significant differences between planet Earth and the environment on Mars to help them decide what they'd need to support life there and created a Mars civilization from recycled products based on their findings.
The students continued their exploration of the red planet with the help of some experts in the field during Zoom visits from Ravi Prakash, a NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Engineer and Chad Cerruti from the University of Michigan's Aerospace engineering crew.
"Our experiences with expert speakers like Chad from the University of Michigan showed our first graders how their learning now can spark ideas that will change the world and how we will travel in space in the future," first-grade teacher Katie Hise shared. "Our students have loved every second of building our Mars civilization, so to see it done on a bigger scale like what the students at the University of Michigan have done furthers their passion for learning and doing!"
For the unit's culmination, the first-graders invited fellow Lynx across Lower School to stop by their classrooms for a showcase of their Mars civilization creations.