Mars Colony STEM Project: Engineering Design Process

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Mars Colony STEM Project: Engineering Design Process

15.00

Subjects: Engineering Design, Space Science, General Science

Grades: 5th - 12th

Resource Type: Stage 3 - Engineering Design Project

Teaching Duration: 3-6 weeks

Total Pages: 8

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Design a colony on Mars! Take your STEM classroom or program to the next level with this in-depth engineering design STEM challenge. Students will apply scientific concepts, math skills, critical thinking, research, and engineering design to plan a long term habitat on Mars. This creative and in-depth project is a great activity for your classroom or afterschool program! 


Designing a Mars Colony is real multidisciplinary project. Students will need to consider questions like: How will colonists get food? What is the Martian environment like? Will our colony have a government? How do we prevent boredom? 

As a student-driven assignment, the purpose of the teacher is to act as a facilitator. You will provide the structure to the project, but students will take an active role in research, design, and building. This product is based on a 5 week long engineering design project where student teams research and develop prototypes for a Mars Colony. Prototypes are built from recycled materials and presented to STEM professionals for judging. The depth of this project is dependent on the available time frame and classroom needs. The product includes instructions for prototype building, but this component is completely optional. 

Students will design a colony considering both human health and happiness:

  • Food Source
  • Energy Source
  • Water Source
  •  Air Source
  • Transportation
  • Entertainment
  • Government
  • Homesickness

Mars Colony STEM Project Includes:

  • Detailed teachers guide with links to resources
  • Photos of prototype examples
  • Student handouts to guide teams through the engineering design process including reflection on society on Earth, learning about Mars, research, brainstorming solutions, designing colony, testing colony against scenarios, and final design. 
  • Student recording sheet for each step of the process
  • Math extension word problems 


**BONUS Materials**

  • Mars PSA Activity
  • Compare Earth to Mars activity
  • Mars Team Trivia Game (Powerpoint)
  • Mars Partners Trivia Game