Free STEM Lesson

Lesson 6: Mars Rover Drop

For Grades: K-6 and up

Step 1 - Introduction

10min

Lesson Overview

Can you create a landing module that will protect your Mars rover (egg) from a fall? Mars is an amazing planet and learning about it helps us to understand what the earth may have been like millions of years ago! Learn about NASA’s rovers that help us study this cold, dry, and dusty planet, then create and test your own Mars Rover landing module!

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Step 2 - Learn More

10min
For All Ages

How do you get to Mars?

(1min)  This quick but awesome video shows how we actually send a rocket to Mars. Did you know it takes 6-8 months to get there?

For All Ages

How do you land on Mars?

(1min) Scientists and engineers have used several strategies to safely land rovers on Mars. It usually depends on how big and heavy they are.

For All Ages

Perseverance Landing

(3min) Perseverance, the Mars rover launched in summer 2020 and landed on mars Feb 2021. You really should visit this link. Mars.NASA.gov

Step 3 - Your Project

40min

Drop a Mars Rover!

  • Materials
    • Egg (or chip or pasta, but choose something fragile that normally breaks when dropped)
    • Ziploc bag to put your egg in and keep this project clean!
    • Tape or glue
    • Junk and RECYCLABLES!
  • Instructions
    • Use the Engineering Design Process to create and test your Mars Rover landing module!
      • ASK -Can I create a landing module that will protect my rover (egg) from a fall?
        • Talk to an adult and decide together on a high but safe place to drop your rover from.
        • Older kids or kids that want a challenge: Limit the size of your landing module to no larger than 6 inches. When NASA designs rovers, they have size and weight limits, too!
      • IMAGINE – See what supplies you have available and imagine what your landing module might look like.
        • Think about weight! The heavier the module, the harder the impact with the ground.
        • How will you protect your rover (egg)?
        • Will you need a parachute?
      • PLAN – Draw your plan and label the parts before you start building.
      • CREATE – Build your landing module!
        • Pro tip: Wait until the very last second to put in your egg so you don’t accidentally break it while building!
      • EXTRA STEP: LAUNCH!
        • Put in your egg.
        • Ask an adult to drop your landing module from a high place!
        • Carefully open your module and check to see if your rover is safe and unbroken! 
      • IMPROVE – If your rover broke, make a change to improve!
      • SHARE – See step 4!

 

Step 4 - Share

10min

Share with someone you love!

Share with someone you love! Today’s recommendation is to call a grandparent (or older family member or friend), and tell them about your project!

  • Possible things to talk about:
    • What did you learn?
    • What did you build?
    • What problems did you run into?
    • How did you solve them?
    • Were they alive and do they remember the Moon Landing?! What was it like?

Step 5 - Go Deeper

30min

There is SO much to learn about Mars and the rovers!
Spend some more time on the Nasa website and learn facts about Perseverance or the past rover missions.
https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

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