Mission to Mars: The Journey Begins

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Language Arts, Reading, Fluency, Science, Earth and Space Science

Grade 5- 8

Objective

Students will participate in a simulated trip in 2025 aboard a supersonic transporter carrying them from Earth to a space station orbiting Earth at an altitude of 146 miles.

Directions

Suggestions for the Simulation
This simulation will transport the students to the Freedom Space Station which is in orbit around the Earth in this future time period. Realism can be added to this simulation through the use of pictures taken by astronauts while orbiting the Earth. If slides or videos are used, they can be viewed on a screen made to look like a giant porthole through which all passengers can see the views. Uniforms may be easily made by the students, using disposable overalls.
There are eight speaking parts in the simulation: captain, first officer, two flight attendants, two passengers, air traffic controller (tower), and a space station porter. These roles may be played by either male or female students. Consider placing students in non-traditional roles, such as females for captain and first officer and males as flight attendants.
Preparation
  • Highlight each script for one of the eight roles. Keep the extra script to give cues as needed.
  • Distribute scripts to students who will play the eight roles. The remainder of the class will be passengers on board this flight.
  • Set up the classroom for the simulation. Assign specific locations for the tower, transporter, and space station. Include areas for the flight deck and passengers inside the transporter and one cabin within the space station.
  • Create props for the simulation, such as flight control panels and special seats for the captain and first officer. Let students help with this task to make the interior of the transporter.
  • Make a porthole area to show views of Earth by using slides or a video.
  • Make uniforms for the flight crew, including insignias of their company. (Suggestion: Obtain from a paint store disposable overalls which can be decorated for each crew member.)

Procedure
  • Let the cast read over their script to become familiar with it.
  • Conduct the simulation with the cast of players reading their scripts.

Discussion
Let students discuss additions they can make to the script, such as more passenger conversations or problems with a near collision with another space transporter.
Follow Up
Let students perform the simulation as a skit for other classes.

Resources

nine copies of the script for simulated flight to the space station (see activity sheet link below)
slides or video of Earth seen from Space Shuttle (optional)

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