Water on Mars Anyone?

Using the ramifications of liquid water on Mars as a way of stimulating school-wide interest in STEM subjects

With the rare occurrence of a Blood Moon, the evidence of flowing water on Mars and the release of the ‘The Martian’ in cinemas (Matt Damon employing his best problem solving face on Mars) - all in the same week – science is definitely in the spotlight at the moment. And the media, in its usual way, is getting excited.

Whether it is in the thrill of a movie or the announcement by NASA, the notion of liquid water on Mars is just the sort of event that can stimulate student interest in the possibilities of science, engineering, maths, technology, both as something that is interesting to study at school and university, and as an area of work thereafter.

Which is why we created ‘Target: Mars’ when the renewed Mars missions started back in 2001.  It is a grand Space Adventure for Creative Thinkers in STEM.

Target: Mars is an event that can be tailored for all age ranges within a secondary school.  It can run across anything from one to five days depending on your requirements, or indeed can be arranged as a summer school programme.

The event involves hands-on science, with the aim of showing students exactly what science is all about, including the need for teamwork, problem solving and creative thinking, using STEM based knowledge.

There’s even money management – which students will find is as important as any other aspect of the project, because if the project runs out of cash, everything stops.

Students become involved in undertaking Micro Chemistry REDOX Experiments, Building Mars Buggies, Investigating the behaviour of Mars Sand, Exploring the first Mars Base…

Thereafter if you move into our two to five day events there can be everything from exploring nanotechnology to holding a conference on colonisation.

Target: Mars is arranged so that all activities are fully prepared and ready to go.  They flow seamlessly from one to another, with students engaged for the entire time.

And there is always a further benefit here – for you and your colleagues will be able to watch this programme in action, with STEM specialists delivering ideas that can then be used in later activities and programmes in the school.

But above all this is a way to mark out the STEM subjects as being a unique part of education, subjects which hold a unique and utterly vital position in our society.

Most certainly after Target: Mars your students will never think about science, technology, engineering, maths and creative skills in the same way again.

There is more information on Target: Mars

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