From the Blue Planet to the Red Planet: Exploring Planetary Science
The Children’s Museum developed From the Blue Planet to the Red Planet: Exploring Planetary Science to provide opportunities for students in grades 4 through 8, teachers, and families to learn about Mars exploration. The Museum partnered with the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) on four teacher professional development modules related to aspects of planetary science: soil and plant study, air pressure, robotic exploration, and the comparison of Mars and Earth. Teachers who attended free workshops could bring students to the Museum for classroom and planetarium experiences. The Museum received support from Central Connecticut State University and technical advice from Phoenix Project scientists at JPL. The Museum created a timeline of Mars exploration history with video clips of milestones and an accompanying quiz kiosk. CCAT created virtual Mars drive-through experiences with which visitors could explore the planet. The Travelers ScienceDome Planetarium staff wrote, directed, and animated a full-dome planetarium program about the future study of Mars that was finished in December 2012. For over two years the Museum has sponsored free, monthly Mars Madness programs during which the general public can visit the exhibit, see a Mars-related planetarium program, and test out some of the hands-on activities developed for the school groups. The Museum hoped to reach a diverse audience, especially, those people who might otherwise not afford admission. We have produced four teacher professional development guides with hands-on activities, an exhibit for our facility, a dedicated website, and a planetarium program.
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