Learning plan

Mission Control

In Mission Control students will learn all about the 3 big mission phase questions they will be exploring and the requirements they will need to fulfil in order to successfully complete their Mars Mission.

Begin by reading through the Mission Control learning goals below with students.

Some of the vocabulary may be unfamiliar to students at this initial stage. You may like to briefly explain the simpler terms but assure them that once they have completed Stage 2 they will have learned all the new vocabulary.

Ask students to tick the check boxes beside each learning goal to acknowledge that they have read their Mission Control learning goals. You will ask students to review these learning goals at the end of Mission Control to confirm whether or not they are confident they have achieved them.

Junior 1.2 Pre



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Activity 1.2.1 Objectives

Learning Goals

  • Understand what is Big History
  • Recall the 3 big mission phase questions
  • Place events on an historical timeline

Introduction

Now that students have completed their pre-mission critical thinking skills training, they will be introduced to the Big History framework and the 3 driving questions they will be exploring as they work towards completing their Mars Mission.

Let students know that today they will be going on a 13.8 billion year journey back to the beginning of the Universe. They will need to keep an extremely open mind as they will be exploring periods of time which are longer than anyone can possibly imagine.


Mission video 5: 3 big mission phase questions

Ask students to watch Mission video 5: 3 big mission phase questions which explores the 3 mission phase questions that will give them the important background information they need about the Universe, planets and humans.

Advise students that once they have watched the video they will need to answer the following questions either as part of a class discussion; as a brief group/paired discussion before reporting their responses back to the class; or independently by writing their answers in their Big History School Junior journals.

1. What is Big History?
Answer:
Big History is the history of everything - from the beginning of the Universe 13.8 billion years ago to today.

2. What are the 3 big mission phase questions you’ll be exploring in Big History?
Answer:

1. What is in the Universe?

  • Everything from the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago to the stars which create the building blocks of everything in the Universe (including us!)
  • Our solar system - from our sun to our neighbouring planets and of course - Earth

2. What Makes a Planet Liveable?

  • How Earth went from being a hot, radioactive planet 4.6 billion years ago to one which has flowing liquid water on its surface
  • How scientists believe this water provided the Goldilocks Conditions for the first simple life-forms to appear 3.8 billion years ago
  • And how these life-forms changed and became more and more complex

3. How do Humans Survive and Thrive?

  • How early humans 300,000 years ago moved from place to place to find food, water and shelter simply to survive
  • How through co-operation with each other and passing information from generation to generation we developed new technologies to help us thrive
  • How these new technologies have led to our modern world and where it all may lead in the future

3. What is a timeline?
Answer:
A timeline is a graphic which includes a list of events placed in the order that they happened. It can measure time periods anywhere from billions of years to day-by-day.

4. Why do we use timelines?
Answer:
We use timelines because they help us to see, in the one visual, the most important things that have happened over a period of time and how long ago or how recently they occurred.


Download video


Activity 1.2.1 Review

Conclusion

Ask students to think about what they would include in a timeline of their life. They can only include a maximum of 6 events. Prompt students by asking what would be the most important things in their life that they would want to include: being born; birth of a sibling; starting pre-school / kindergarten; joining a sports team; or going on an overseas holiday?

Discuss the difficulty of deciding which are the most important events to include in a personal timeline. Ask students to then imagine how much more difficult it would be to decide on what to include on a timeline of the entire history of the Universe.

In the next activity students will create a history of the Universe timeline based on Big History Junior’s 3 big mission phase questions.

Formative Assessment

Responses to Mission video 5: 3 big mission phase questions.


Go to Activity 1.2.2   »

Course Glossary

accretion

The gradual process of matter being pulled together by gravity to make larger and larger clumps of matter.

adaptation

A special skill or physical feature which helps a species to survive and thrive in its environment. For example, a chameleon changing colour to camouflage itself.

aerial view

A view of something from the sky looking down.

agriculture

Also referred to as farming, agriculture is the practice of growing crops and raising animals. It is an innovation which has allowed human societies to expand and thrive.

AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a type of technology which can perceive things, interpret them and make decisions in a similar way to humans.

amphibian

Animals that evolved from fish to have gills so that they can live in water and also live and breathe on land.

anthropologist

A scientist who studies humans and human behaviour.

asteroids

Rocky bodies which are too small to be called planets.

astronomer

A scientist who studies the Universe and everything in it.

atmosphere

A thin layer of gases, otherwise known as air, that surrounds Earth and other planets.

atoms

Tiny particles which make up everything in the Universe.

authority

Someone who knows a lot about a subject and whose views are respected.

battery storage

A large battery that stores electrical energy which can then be used when other energy sources are not available.

Big Bang theory

Theory about how the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago. All matter, time, space and energy came from the Big Bang.

Big History

The history of the entire Universe beginning 13.8 billion years ago.

biochemist

A scientist who studies the chemistry of living things.

biologist

A scientist who studies living things.

black hole

An area in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from it – not even light.

brainstorming

A creative strategy for thinking about and sharing ideas to solve a challenge or task.

CBR

Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) is the radiation left over from the initial energy of the Big Bang. It can be seen through powerful space telescopes.

chemical compounds

Chemical elements which have combined with different chemical elements. For example, hydrogen can combine with oxygen to create the chemical compound water (H2O).

chemical elements

Pure substances which are made from a single type of atom. For example, Helium.

chemist

A scientist who studies the substances that make up all the matter in the Universe.

claim

Information which is presented as fact – not an opinion.

cognitive

To do with mental activity such as thinking, using logic or remembering.

collective learning

The human ability to store and share and build on information from generation to generation.

comets

Balls of frozen gases, rock and dust which orbit the Sun.

community

A group of people who live together. They help each other and work together to solve problems.

compare

To look at what two or more things have in common with each other.

continental drift theory

A theory which states that the Earth’s continents were once joined together in one supercontinent, then broke up and slowly drifted apart.

contrast

To look at how two or more things are different to each other.

convergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates move towards each other.

cosmologist

A scientist who studies the structure and history of the Universe.

creative thinking

Thinking of new ways to solve problems, generate new explanations and/or create something original.

Critical thinking

Thinking which doesn’t rely on simply accepting what someone has said. It involves questioning, using logic and seeking information from experts before drawing a conclusion.

cross section

A view of something as if it has been sliced through with a knife.

digital technology

A term which covers electronic technologies such as computers, tablets and mobile phones.

disciplines

Different areas of knowledge, for example, natural sciences.

divergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates slide apart from each other.

Earth’s core

At its centre, Earth contains a solid inner core and a liquid outer core made of iron and nickel.

Earth’s crust

The layer that floats on top of the mantle and is made of lighter weight rocks and minerals.

electrical technology

Technologies which use electricity as their main power source, for example, light bulbs, electric motors and television.

energy sources

A resource which can be used to provide power. For example, fossil fuels like coal and oil; renewable resources like solar and wind or uranium for nuclear power.

engineer

An expert who designs and builds machines and structures.

evidence

Information which may support or disprove a claim.

evolution

The theory of evolution explains how all the species alive today generated from the first simple life forms on Earth.

exoplanets

Planets which orbit stars outside of our solar system.

expert

A person with a special skill or knowledge in a particular area.

flyby

A path followed by a spacecraft which has been sent close enough to a planet to record scientific data.

fossil fuels

A carbon- based material such as coal, oil, or natural gas that can be used as an energy source. Fossil fuels were originally formed when the remains of living organisms were buried and broken down by intense heat and pressure over millions of years.

gas giants

The four large outermost planets – Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter – which are mostly made of lighter chemical elements like Hydrogen and Helium.

geologist

A scientist who analyses rocks, minerals and landforms.

Goldilocks conditions

The ‘just right’ conditions for life to exist. For example, Earth has the right temperature range, a protective atmosphere and liquid water.

gravity

The energy force which tries to pull two objects toward each other. The bigger an object is, the stronger its gravitational pull.

Homo sapiens

Modern humans who first appeared 300,000 years ago. We are homo sapiens.

hunters and gatherers

Human societies which move from place to place to hunt meat and gather fruit and vegetables to survive.

industrial technology

Machines which operate on a large scale by using energy sources such as water, steam power, oil and coal.

innovation

Using existing knowledge to come up with new technologies or new ways of doing things.

intelligent life

Beings from other planets who are able to think, learn and understand. Scientists continue to search for intelligent life out in the Universe.

intuition

A ‘gut feeling’ that a claim may be true or false.

Jovian planets

The term Jovian planets refers to the large gassy planets furthest from the Sun - Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. They are also known as gas giants.

Karman line

An imaginary line 100 kms above the Earth’s crust where it has been internationally agreed the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins.

KWHLAQ chart

A visible framework which uses a series of step-by-step questions to provide guidance through the creative thinking process.

lander

A spacecraft which has been designed to make a soft landing on a planet or moon etc.

logic

Carefully thinking about a claim to decide whether it makes sense.

mantle

The layer that surrounds the Earth’s core and is made of minerals and rocks which slowly flow in a sludge of melted iron.

matter

Everything around us that has weight and takes up space. All matter is made up of atoms.

meteoroids

Otherwise known as shooting stars, meteoroids are small space rocks which burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

module

A self-contained unit which can be joined together with other units to build something more complex.

multi-planetary species

A species which lives on more than one planet. Humans could become the first known multi-planetary species by establishing a human habitat on Mars.

multicellular organisms

A complex organism which is made up of more than one cell. For example, animals and plants.

natural selection

The process by which individuals in a species who have more successful adaptations have more children, therefore passing their successful adaptations on to future generations.

nuclear fusion

The process of hydrogen atoms being crushed together in a star’s hot centre, releasing heat and energy for billions of years.

orbiter

A spacecraft designed to orbit a planet and collect scientific data over a long period of time.

overpopulation

When a population grows too big for the available resources, for example, food. Humans have, in the past, solved potential problems through innovations such as agriculture.

ozone layer

An invisible layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere which helps to protect us from the Sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.

periodic table

A diagram of all the chemical elements in the Universe. It was created by a Russian chemist named Dmitri Mendeleev.

quasars

Quasi Stellar Objects (Quasars) are believed to be the brightest and most distant objects in the Universe.

radiation

The transfer of energy (heat, sound or light) through waves. It can come from cosmic rays or from the Earth. Too much exposure to radiation is harmful to humans.

redshift

When a star or galaxy moves away, its light waves are stretched out and it has a red glow. This is called redshift and provides evidence that the Universe is expanding.

robotics

A type of technology which allows machines to be programmed to move and complete set tasks.

rocky planets

The four small inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – which are mostly made of heavier chemical elements like iron.

rover

A moving robot which is sent to the surface of another planet to explore, collect scientific data and samples.

self-sustaining

Being able to exist for a long time without outside help by using resources responsibly.

single-celled organisms

A simple organism which is made up of only one cell. For example, simple bacteria.

singularity

The extremely small point which contained the ingredients for everything in the Universe. Everything was crushed together in this singularity at the moment of the Big Bang.

sol

The name of a solar day on Mars, which is 24.65 hours.

star

A massive sphere of very hot gas which makes its own light and energy through nuclear fusion.

supernova

The spectacular explosion which occurs when a massive star dies. It blows chemical elements out into the Universe.

survive

To be able to continue to live. For example, having enough food to avoid dying of starvation.

technology

New tools or methods, developed through the use of scientific knowledge, which can be used to solve problems.

tectonic plates

The large solid-rock moving pieces which make up the Earth’s crust.

thrive

To be able to grow, be successful and become stronger. For example, humans thrive when they are part of a connected community.

timeline

A graphic which includes a list of events placed in the order that they happened.

transform boundary

Where two tectonic plates meet and try to move past each other.

uranium

A chemical element which is found in the Earth’s crust and is used as an energy source in nuclear power plants.

venn diagram

A visual graphic which can be used to compare and contrast two different things.

white dwarf

When a non-massive star runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion it collapses into itself. The leftover core is a compact star called a white dwarf.

x-ray telescope

A type of telescope which works by receiving x-ray signals. It is mainly used to observe space objects and events such as the Sun, stars and supernovae.

Yucatan Peninsula

Location of the Chicxulub Crater where a giant meteor landed 66 million years ago. Scientists think this meteor strike led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

zinc

One of the most common chemical elements in the Earth’s crust.

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Activity 1.2.2 Objectives

Learning Goals

  • Understand what is Big History
  • Recall the 3 big mission phase questions
  • Place events on an historical timeline

Introduction

Now that students understand what a timeline is and have thought about what they would include in their own personal timeline, they will create a timeline of the history of the Universe.

The Timeline: history of the Universe is based on Big History Junior’s 3 big mission phase questions and provides a framework for all the background information the Mission Control Teams will provide for students as they work towards completing their Mission.


Timeline: history of the Universe

Explain to students that in this activity they will be placing important events in the history of the Universe on to a timeline.

Display the Timeline: history of the Universe example and ask students what they notice. You may wish to prompt students with the following questions:

  • How long ago does the timeline begin?
    (14 billion (1,400 crore) years ago)
  • It counts down by 1 billion (100 crore) years at regular intervals. Why?
    (the timeline is scaled down so that each box represents 1 billion (100 crore) years)
  • It ends with an arrow. Why?
    (the arrow points to the future)
  • The “Universe” bracket is almost the entire length of the Timeline. Why?
    (because the Universe began about 13.8 billion (1,380 crore) years ago - rounded up to 14 billion (1,400 crore))
  • The “Earth” bracket begins close to 5 billion (500 crore) years ago. Why?
    (because Earth formed about 4.6 billion (460 crore) years ago)
  • The “Humans” bracket begins less than 1 billion (100 crore) years ago. Why?
    (because humans came into existence only 300,000 (3 lakh) years ago)

Using the Timeline: history of the Universe worksheet, ask students to work individually on their own Timeline: history of the Universe by placing the 6 ‘events’ in the correct order either by:

  1. 1. Cutting and pasting the boxes from the strip of 6 ‘events’ into the boxes on the Timeline: history of the Universe worksheet.
OR
  1. 2. Writing the name of each ‘event’ into the boxes on the Timeline: history of the Universe worksheet.

1.2.2 Timeline - History of the Universe

Helpful Resources

Display: History of the Universe

Timeline: history of the Universe example


Activity 1.2.2 Review

Conclusion

Once students have completed their timeline, ask them if they found anything particularly surprising when they look at the history of the Universe at this scale. Two particular points you may like to highlight are:

  • How long the Universe existed before Earth was formed
  • The short period of time humans have been around in comparison to Earth and the Universe

In Helpful Resources you will find a Display: history of the Universe timeline which you can place on your classroom wall for student reference throughout the course

Helpful Resources

Display: History of the Universe

Formative assessment

Completed Timeline: history of the Universe worksheet

Go to Activity 1.2.3   »

Course Glossary

accretion

The gradual process of matter being pulled together by gravity to make larger and larger clumps of matter.

adaptation

A special skill or physical feature which helps a species to survive and thrive in its environment. For example, a chameleon changing colour to camouflage itself.

aerial view

A view of something from the sky looking down.

agriculture

Also referred to as farming, agriculture is the practice of growing crops and raising animals. It is an innovation which has allowed human societies to expand and thrive.

AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a type of technology which can perceive things, interpret them and make decisions in a similar way to humans.

amphibian

Animals that evolved from fish to have gills so that they can live in water and also live and breathe on land.

anthropologist

A scientist who studies humans and human behaviour.

asteroids

Rocky bodies which are too small to be called planets.

astronomer

A scientist who studies the Universe and everything in it.

atmosphere

A thin layer of gases, otherwise known as air, that surrounds Earth and other planets.

atoms

Tiny particles which make up everything in the Universe.

authority

Someone who knows a lot about a subject and whose views are respected.

battery storage

A large battery that stores electrical energy which can then be used when other energy sources are not available.

Big Bang theory

Theory about how the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago. All matter, time, space and energy came from the Big Bang.

Big History

The history of the entire Universe beginning 13.8 billion years ago.

biochemist

A scientist who studies the chemistry of living things.

biologist

A scientist who studies living things.

black hole

An area in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from it – not even light.

brainstorming

A creative strategy for thinking about and sharing ideas to solve a challenge or task.

CBR

Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) is the radiation left over from the initial energy of the Big Bang. It can be seen through powerful space telescopes.

chemical compounds

Chemical elements which have combined with different chemical elements. For example, hydrogen can combine with oxygen to create the chemical compound water (H2O).

chemical elements

Pure substances which are made from a single type of atom. For example, Helium.

chemist

A scientist who studies the substances that make up all the matter in the Universe.

claim

Information which is presented as fact – not an opinion.

cognitive

To do with mental activity such as thinking, using logic or remembering.

collective learning

The human ability to store and share and build on information from generation to generation.

comets

Balls of frozen gases, rock and dust which orbit the Sun.

community

A group of people who live together. They help each other and work together to solve problems.

compare

To look at what two or more things have in common with each other.

continental drift theory

A theory which states that the Earth’s continents were once joined together in one supercontinent, then broke up and slowly drifted apart.

contrast

To look at how two or more things are different to each other.

convergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates move towards each other.

cosmologist

A scientist who studies the structure and history of the Universe.

creative thinking

Thinking of new ways to solve problems, generate new explanations and/or create something original.

Critical thinking

Thinking which doesn’t rely on simply accepting what someone has said. It involves questioning, using logic and seeking information from experts before drawing a conclusion.

cross section

A view of something as if it has been sliced through with a knife.

digital technology

A term which covers electronic technologies such as computers, tablets and mobile phones.

disciplines

Different areas of knowledge, for example, natural sciences.

divergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates slide apart from each other.

Earth’s core

At its centre, Earth contains a solid inner core and a liquid outer core made of iron and nickel.

Earth’s crust

The layer that floats on top of the mantle and is made of lighter weight rocks and minerals.

electrical technology

Technologies which use electricity as their main power source, for example, light bulbs, electric motors and television.

energy sources

A resource which can be used to provide power. For example, fossil fuels like coal and oil; renewable resources like solar and wind or uranium for nuclear power.

engineer

An expert who designs and builds machines and structures.

evidence

Information which may support or disprove a claim.

evolution

The theory of evolution explains how all the species alive today generated from the first simple life forms on Earth.

exoplanets

Planets which orbit stars outside of our solar system.

expert

A person with a special skill or knowledge in a particular area.

flyby

A path followed by a spacecraft which has been sent close enough to a planet to record scientific data.

fossil fuels

A carbon- based material such as coal, oil, or natural gas that can be used as an energy source. Fossil fuels were originally formed when the remains of living organisms were buried and broken down by intense heat and pressure over millions of years.

gas giants

The four large outermost planets – Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter – which are mostly made of lighter chemical elements like Hydrogen and Helium.

geologist

A scientist who analyses rocks, minerals and landforms.

Goldilocks conditions

The ‘just right’ conditions for life to exist. For example, Earth has the right temperature range, a protective atmosphere and liquid water.

gravity

The energy force which tries to pull two objects toward each other. The bigger an object is, the stronger its gravitational pull.

Homo sapiens

Modern humans who first appeared 300,000 years ago. We are homo sapiens.

hunters and gatherers

Human societies which move from place to place to hunt meat and gather fruit and vegetables to survive.

industrial technology

Machines which operate on a large scale by using energy sources such as water, steam power, oil and coal.

innovation

Using existing knowledge to come up with new technologies or new ways of doing things.

intelligent life

Beings from other planets who are able to think, learn and understand. Scientists continue to search for intelligent life out in the Universe.

intuition

A ‘gut feeling’ that a claim may be true or false.

Jovian planets

The term Jovian planets refers to the large gassy planets furthest from the Sun - Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. They are also known as gas giants.

Karman line

An imaginary line 100 kms above the Earth’s crust where it has been internationally agreed the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins.

KWHLAQ chart

A visible framework which uses a series of step-by-step questions to provide guidance through the creative thinking process.

lander

A spacecraft which has been designed to make a soft landing on a planet or moon etc.

logic

Carefully thinking about a claim to decide whether it makes sense.

mantle

The layer that surrounds the Earth’s core and is made of minerals and rocks which slowly flow in a sludge of melted iron.

matter

Everything around us that has weight and takes up space. All matter is made up of atoms.

meteoroids

Otherwise known as shooting stars, meteoroids are small space rocks which burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

module

A self-contained unit which can be joined together with other units to build something more complex.

multi-planetary species

A species which lives on more than one planet. Humans could become the first known multi-planetary species by establishing a human habitat on Mars.

multicellular organisms

A complex organism which is made up of more than one cell. For example, animals and plants.

natural selection

The process by which individuals in a species who have more successful adaptations have more children, therefore passing their successful adaptations on to future generations.

nuclear fusion

The process of hydrogen atoms being crushed together in a star’s hot centre, releasing heat and energy for billions of years.

orbiter

A spacecraft designed to orbit a planet and collect scientific data over a long period of time.

overpopulation

When a population grows too big for the available resources, for example, food. Humans have, in the past, solved potential problems through innovations such as agriculture.

ozone layer

An invisible layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere which helps to protect us from the Sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.

periodic table

A diagram of all the chemical elements in the Universe. It was created by a Russian chemist named Dmitri Mendeleev.

quasars

Quasi Stellar Objects (Quasars) are believed to be the brightest and most distant objects in the Universe.

radiation

The transfer of energy (heat, sound or light) through waves. It can come from cosmic rays or from the Earth. Too much exposure to radiation is harmful to humans.

redshift

When a star or galaxy moves away, its light waves are stretched out and it has a red glow. This is called redshift and provides evidence that the Universe is expanding.

robotics

A type of technology which allows machines to be programmed to move and complete set tasks.

rocky planets

The four small inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – which are mostly made of heavier chemical elements like iron.

rover

A moving robot which is sent to the surface of another planet to explore, collect scientific data and samples.

self-sustaining

Being able to exist for a long time without outside help by using resources responsibly.

single-celled organisms

A simple organism which is made up of only one cell. For example, simple bacteria.

singularity

The extremely small point which contained the ingredients for everything in the Universe. Everything was crushed together in this singularity at the moment of the Big Bang.

sol

The name of a solar day on Mars, which is 24.65 hours.

star

A massive sphere of very hot gas which makes its own light and energy through nuclear fusion.

supernova

The spectacular explosion which occurs when a massive star dies. It blows chemical elements out into the Universe.

survive

To be able to continue to live. For example, having enough food to avoid dying of starvation.

technology

New tools or methods, developed through the use of scientific knowledge, which can be used to solve problems.

tectonic plates

The large solid-rock moving pieces which make up the Earth’s crust.

thrive

To be able to grow, be successful and become stronger. For example, humans thrive when they are part of a connected community.

timeline

A graphic which includes a list of events placed in the order that they happened.

transform boundary

Where two tectonic plates meet and try to move past each other.

uranium

A chemical element which is found in the Earth’s crust and is used as an energy source in nuclear power plants.

venn diagram

A visual graphic which can be used to compare and contrast two different things.

white dwarf

When a non-massive star runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion it collapses into itself. The leftover core is a compact star called a white dwarf.

x-ray telescope

A type of telescope which works by receiving x-ray signals. It is mainly used to observe space objects and events such as the Sun, stars and supernovae.

Yucatan Peninsula

Location of the Chicxulub Crater where a giant meteor landed 66 million years ago. Scientists think this meteor strike led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

zinc

One of the most common chemical elements in the Earth’s crust.

2Al

Activity 1.2.3 Objectives

Learning Goals

  • Understand the step-by-step requirements of the Mars Mission

Introduction

This activity is the first part of the formal introduction of the Mars Mission. By the end of this activity, students will have a thorough understanding of what the requirements of their Mars Mission are. In addition to watching Mission video 6: Your mission control reports, they will receive their Mars Mission Brief which outlines the driving question of the Mars Mission as well as the tasks they will need to complete to be successful in their Mission.

Now would be an appropriate time to consider setting due dates (even if only approximate) for the four Mission Control Reports and for the date of your Big History Junior Mars Mission Showcase if you are holding one. You may like to include these details in the spaces provided in the Mars Mission Brief.


Mission video 6: Your mission control reports

Ask students to watch Mission video 6: Your mission control reports which outlines the requirements that students will need to fulfil in order to successfully complete their Mars Mission.

Advise students that once they have watched the video they will need to answer the following questions either as part of a class discussion; as a brief group/paired discussion before reporting their responses back to the class; or independently by writing their answers in their Big History School Junior journals.

  1. 1. What is your Mission Brief?
    Answer:
    To design and create a model of a self-sustaining habitat on Mars for the first 12 human inhabitants.
  2. 2. What is the all-important question you are trying to answer on your Mission?
    Answer:
    ‘How could humans live on Mars?’
  3. 3. Which question will you need to answer in each of the four Mission Control Reports?
    Answer:
    • Mission Control Report A - “What do we know about Mars?”
      You need to write an information report on what recent space missions have discovered about Mars
    • Mission Control Report B - “What are the differences and similarities between Earth and Mars?”
      You will create a Mars/Earth venn-diagram.
      You will use this venn-diagram to compare the Goldilocks conditions for human life on Earth and Mars.
    • Mission Control Report C - “What do humans need to survive and thrive on Mars?”
      You will research human needs and what it takes to create a thriving human community.
    • Mission Control Report D - “How could humans live on Mars?”
      You will create a 3D model of your Human Habitat on Mars and a digital or poster presentation which explains how you solved the challenges of meeting human needs on Mars.

Download video


Brief: Mars mission

Once students have responded to the Mission video questions, give them a copy of the Brief: Mars mission. Read through this document which outlines what will be required of students to complete their Mars Mission.

If you already have due dates, ask students to fill in the due dates as well as any extra instructions you have decided on.

1.2.3 - Brief - Mars Mission


Activity 1.2.3 Review

Conclusion

Now that students understand what will be required of them on their Mars Mission, in the next activity they will decide on their Mars Mission Name and formalise their commitment to the Mission by signing a ‘pledge.’

Formative assessment

Responses to ‘Mission video 6: Your mission control reports’ questions.

Go to Activity 1.2.4   »

Course Glossary

accretion

The gradual process of matter being pulled together by gravity to make larger and larger clumps of matter.

adaptation

A special skill or physical feature which helps a species to survive and thrive in its environment. For example, a chameleon changing colour to camouflage itself.

aerial view

A view of something from the sky looking down.

agriculture

Also referred to as farming, agriculture is the practice of growing crops and raising animals. It is an innovation which has allowed human societies to expand and thrive.

AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a type of technology which can perceive things, interpret them and make decisions in a similar way to humans.

amphibian

Animals that evolved from fish to have gills so that they can live in water and also live and breathe on land.

anthropologist

A scientist who studies humans and human behaviour.

asteroids

Rocky bodies which are too small to be called planets.

astronomer

A scientist who studies the Universe and everything in it.

atmosphere

A thin layer of gases, otherwise known as air, that surrounds Earth and other planets.

atoms

Tiny particles which make up everything in the Universe.

authority

Someone who knows a lot about a subject and whose views are respected.

battery storage

A large battery that stores electrical energy which can then be used when other energy sources are not available.

Big Bang theory

Theory about how the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago. All matter, time, space and energy came from the Big Bang.

Big History

The history of the entire Universe beginning 13.8 billion years ago.

biochemist

A scientist who studies the chemistry of living things.

biologist

A scientist who studies living things.

black hole

An area in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from it – not even light.

brainstorming

A creative strategy for thinking about and sharing ideas to solve a challenge or task.

CBR

Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) is the radiation left over from the initial energy of the Big Bang. It can be seen through powerful space telescopes.

chemical compounds

Chemical elements which have combined with different chemical elements. For example, hydrogen can combine with oxygen to create the chemical compound water (H2O).

chemical elements

Pure substances which are made from a single type of atom. For example, Helium.

chemist

A scientist who studies the substances that make up all the matter in the Universe.

claim

Information which is presented as fact – not an opinion.

cognitive

To do with mental activity such as thinking, using logic or remembering.

collective learning

The human ability to store and share and build on information from generation to generation.

comets

Balls of frozen gases, rock and dust which orbit the Sun.

community

A group of people who live together. They help each other and work together to solve problems.

compare

To look at what two or more things have in common with each other.

continental drift theory

A theory which states that the Earth’s continents were once joined together in one supercontinent, then broke up and slowly drifted apart.

contrast

To look at how two or more things are different to each other.

convergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates move towards each other.

cosmologist

A scientist who studies the structure and history of the Universe.

creative thinking

Thinking of new ways to solve problems, generate new explanations and/or create something original.

Critical thinking

Thinking which doesn’t rely on simply accepting what someone has said. It involves questioning, using logic and seeking information from experts before drawing a conclusion.

cross section

A view of something as if it has been sliced through with a knife.

digital technology

A term which covers electronic technologies such as computers, tablets and mobile phones.

disciplines

Different areas of knowledge, for example, natural sciences.

divergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates slide apart from each other.

Earth’s core

At its centre, Earth contains a solid inner core and a liquid outer core made of iron and nickel.

Earth’s crust

The layer that floats on top of the mantle and is made of lighter weight rocks and minerals.

electrical technology

Technologies which use electricity as their main power source, for example, light bulbs, electric motors and television.

energy sources

A resource which can be used to provide power. For example, fossil fuels like coal and oil; renewable resources like solar and wind or uranium for nuclear power.

engineer

An expert who designs and builds machines and structures.

evidence

Information which may support or disprove a claim.

evolution

The theory of evolution explains how all the species alive today generated from the first simple life forms on Earth.

exoplanets

Planets which orbit stars outside of our solar system.

expert

A person with a special skill or knowledge in a particular area.

flyby

A path followed by a spacecraft which has been sent close enough to a planet to record scientific data.

fossil fuels

A carbon- based material such as coal, oil, or natural gas that can be used as an energy source. Fossil fuels were originally formed when the remains of living organisms were buried and broken down by intense heat and pressure over millions of years.

gas giants

The four large outermost planets – Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter – which are mostly made of lighter chemical elements like Hydrogen and Helium.

geologist

A scientist who analyses rocks, minerals and landforms.

Goldilocks conditions

The ‘just right’ conditions for life to exist. For example, Earth has the right temperature range, a protective atmosphere and liquid water.

gravity

The energy force which tries to pull two objects toward each other. The bigger an object is, the stronger its gravitational pull.

Homo sapiens

Modern humans who first appeared 300,000 years ago. We are homo sapiens.

hunters and gatherers

Human societies which move from place to place to hunt meat and gather fruit and vegetables to survive.

industrial technology

Machines which operate on a large scale by using energy sources such as water, steam power, oil and coal.

innovation

Using existing knowledge to come up with new technologies or new ways of doing things.

intelligent life

Beings from other planets who are able to think, learn and understand. Scientists continue to search for intelligent life out in the Universe.

intuition

A ‘gut feeling’ that a claim may be true or false.

Jovian planets

The term Jovian planets refers to the large gassy planets furthest from the Sun - Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. They are also known as gas giants.

Karman line

An imaginary line 100 kms above the Earth’s crust where it has been internationally agreed the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins.

KWHLAQ chart

A visible framework which uses a series of step-by-step questions to provide guidance through the creative thinking process.

lander

A spacecraft which has been designed to make a soft landing on a planet or moon etc.

logic

Carefully thinking about a claim to decide whether it makes sense.

mantle

The layer that surrounds the Earth’s core and is made of minerals and rocks which slowly flow in a sludge of melted iron.

matter

Everything around us that has weight and takes up space. All matter is made up of atoms.

meteoroids

Otherwise known as shooting stars, meteoroids are small space rocks which burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

module

A self-contained unit which can be joined together with other units to build something more complex.

multi-planetary species

A species which lives on more than one planet. Humans could become the first known multi-planetary species by establishing a human habitat on Mars.

multicellular organisms

A complex organism which is made up of more than one cell. For example, animals and plants.

natural selection

The process by which individuals in a species who have more successful adaptations have more children, therefore passing their successful adaptations on to future generations.

nuclear fusion

The process of hydrogen atoms being crushed together in a star’s hot centre, releasing heat and energy for billions of years.

orbiter

A spacecraft designed to orbit a planet and collect scientific data over a long period of time.

overpopulation

When a population grows too big for the available resources, for example, food. Humans have, in the past, solved potential problems through innovations such as agriculture.

ozone layer

An invisible layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere which helps to protect us from the Sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.

periodic table

A diagram of all the chemical elements in the Universe. It was created by a Russian chemist named Dmitri Mendeleev.

quasars

Quasi Stellar Objects (Quasars) are believed to be the brightest and most distant objects in the Universe.

radiation

The transfer of energy (heat, sound or light) through waves. It can come from cosmic rays or from the Earth. Too much exposure to radiation is harmful to humans.

redshift

When a star or galaxy moves away, its light waves are stretched out and it has a red glow. This is called redshift and provides evidence that the Universe is expanding.

robotics

A type of technology which allows machines to be programmed to move and complete set tasks.

rocky planets

The four small inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – which are mostly made of heavier chemical elements like iron.

rover

A moving robot which is sent to the surface of another planet to explore, collect scientific data and samples.

self-sustaining

Being able to exist for a long time without outside help by using resources responsibly.

single-celled organisms

A simple organism which is made up of only one cell. For example, simple bacteria.

singularity

The extremely small point which contained the ingredients for everything in the Universe. Everything was crushed together in this singularity at the moment of the Big Bang.

sol

The name of a solar day on Mars, which is 24.65 hours.

star

A massive sphere of very hot gas which makes its own light and energy through nuclear fusion.

supernova

The spectacular explosion which occurs when a massive star dies. It blows chemical elements out into the Universe.

survive

To be able to continue to live. For example, having enough food to avoid dying of starvation.

technology

New tools or methods, developed through the use of scientific knowledge, which can be used to solve problems.

tectonic plates

The large solid-rock moving pieces which make up the Earth’s crust.

thrive

To be able to grow, be successful and become stronger. For example, humans thrive when they are part of a connected community.

timeline

A graphic which includes a list of events placed in the order that they happened.

transform boundary

Where two tectonic plates meet and try to move past each other.

uranium

A chemical element which is found in the Earth’s crust and is used as an energy source in nuclear power plants.

venn diagram

A visual graphic which can be used to compare and contrast two different things.

white dwarf

When a non-massive star runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion it collapses into itself. The leftover core is a compact star called a white dwarf.

x-ray telescope

A type of telescope which works by receiving x-ray signals. It is mainly used to observe space objects and events such as the Sun, stars and supernovae.

Yucatan Peninsula

Location of the Chicxulub Crater where a giant meteor landed 66 million years ago. Scientists think this meteor strike led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

zinc

One of the most common chemical elements in the Earth’s crust.

2Al

Activity 1.2.4 Objectives

Learning Goals

  • Understand the step-by-step requirements of the Mars Mission
  • Commit to undertake the steps necessary to successfully complete the Mission

Introduction

This activity is the second part of the formal introduction to the Mars Mission for students. In this activity students will have the opportunity to brainstorm a Mission name and sign a Mars Mission pledge, promising to undertake their best work in order to successfully complete their Mission. They will also be issued with their S.P.A.C.E command: ID cards.

If your students will be working in teams, you will need to form students into their Mars Mission teams before they work on their Mars mission pledge. You may also like to organise a manila folder or plastic sleeve for each Mission Team so that they can keep all their paperwork together.


Mars mission pledge: team

If students are working in a team the first thing they need to complete on their Mars mission pledge: team is their Mission name. Explain to students that every space mission has an official name.

Display the Mars mission name ideas located in Helpful Resources. This lists words which have been used in real space mission names. Use it as a stimulus help students brainstorm and decide on a Mission name to write on their Mars mission pledge: team.

Read through either the student or team pledge with students depending on whether they will be working individually or as part of a Mission Team.

Give students time to:

  • Brainstorm and write down their Mission name
  • Add at least 3 more points in the ‘We pledge to’ section which they, as a team, agree are important.
  • Have them write down each team member’s name and choose a team leader – who do they think is very responsible and willing to take on any extra tasks?
  • Sign their names and write the date.

1.2.4 - Mars Mission Pledge - Team

Helpful Resources

1.2.4 - Mars Mission Name Ideas


Mars Mission pledge: student

If students are working as individuals the first thing they need to complete on their Mars mission pledge: student is their Mission name. Explain to students that every space mission has an official name.

Display the Mars mission name ideas located in Helpful Resources. This lists words which have been used in real space mission names. Use it as a stimulus help students brainstorm and decide on a Mission name to write on their Mars mission pledge: student.

Read through either the student or team pledge with students depending on whether they will be working individually or as part of a Mission Team.

Give students time to:

  • Brainstorm and write down their Mission name
  • Add at least 3 more points in the ‘We pledge to’ section which they, as a team, agree are important.
  • Sign their names and write the date.

1.2.4 - Mars Mission Pledge - Student

Helpful Resources

Mars Mission Name Ideas


S.P.A.C.E command: ID cards

To formalise the beginning of the Mission, once students have signed their Mars mission pledge, you may like to create and issue them an “official” S.P.A.C.E command ID Card. The Mars Mission Control ID Card has space for a student photo, student name and Mission name. It can be laminated and:

  • Attached to a lanyard for students to wear when working on their Mars Mission
  • Used as a badge
  • Kept in their Big History School Junior journal
  • 1.2.4 - SPACE Command ID Cards


Activity 1.2.4 Review

Conclusion

Ask students to share their Mission names with the rest of the class.

Also have students share the points that they included in the ‘I/We pledge to’ section with the class. If students are working in Mission Teams, this is a good time to discuss the importance of teamwork. You may like to ask them to share any positive or challenging experiences they have had working in teams before and brainstorm how they could resolve any possible teamwork issues on their Mars Mission.

Formative assessment

Student contributions to brainstorming of Mars Mission names.
Student contributions to completion of Mars Mission pledge worksheet.

Go to Learning summary   »

Course Glossary

accretion

The gradual process of matter being pulled together by gravity to make larger and larger clumps of matter.

adaptation

A special skill or physical feature which helps a species to survive and thrive in its environment. For example, a chameleon changing colour to camouflage itself.

aerial view

A view of something from the sky looking down.

agriculture

Also referred to as farming, agriculture is the practice of growing crops and raising animals. It is an innovation which has allowed human societies to expand and thrive.

AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a type of technology which can perceive things, interpret them and make decisions in a similar way to humans.

amphibian

Animals that evolved from fish to have gills so that they can live in water and also live and breathe on land.

anthropologist

A scientist who studies humans and human behaviour.

asteroids

Rocky bodies which are too small to be called planets.

astronomer

A scientist who studies the Universe and everything in it.

atmosphere

A thin layer of gases, otherwise known as air, that surrounds Earth and other planets.

atoms

Tiny particles which make up everything in the Universe.

authority

Someone who knows a lot about a subject and whose views are respected.

battery storage

A large battery that stores electrical energy which can then be used when other energy sources are not available.

Big Bang theory

Theory about how the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago. All matter, time, space and energy came from the Big Bang.

Big History

The history of the entire Universe beginning 13.8 billion years ago.

biochemist

A scientist who studies the chemistry of living things.

biologist

A scientist who studies living things.

black hole

An area in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from it – not even light.

brainstorming

A creative strategy for thinking about and sharing ideas to solve a challenge or task.

CBR

Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) is the radiation left over from the initial energy of the Big Bang. It can be seen through powerful space telescopes.

chemical compounds

Chemical elements which have combined with different chemical elements. For example, hydrogen can combine with oxygen to create the chemical compound water (H2O).

chemical elements

Pure substances which are made from a single type of atom. For example, Helium.

chemist

A scientist who studies the substances that make up all the matter in the Universe.

claim

Information which is presented as fact – not an opinion.

cognitive

To do with mental activity such as thinking, using logic or remembering.

collective learning

The human ability to store and share and build on information from generation to generation.

comets

Balls of frozen gases, rock and dust which orbit the Sun.

community

A group of people who live together. They help each other and work together to solve problems.

compare

To look at what two or more things have in common with each other.

continental drift theory

A theory which states that the Earth’s continents were once joined together in one supercontinent, then broke up and slowly drifted apart.

contrast

To look at how two or more things are different to each other.

convergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates move towards each other.

cosmologist

A scientist who studies the structure and history of the Universe.

creative thinking

Thinking of new ways to solve problems, generate new explanations and/or create something original.

Critical thinking

Thinking which doesn’t rely on simply accepting what someone has said. It involves questioning, using logic and seeking information from experts before drawing a conclusion.

cross section

A view of something as if it has been sliced through with a knife.

digital technology

A term which covers electronic technologies such as computers, tablets and mobile phones.

disciplines

Different areas of knowledge, for example, natural sciences.

divergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates slide apart from each other.

Earth’s core

At its centre, Earth contains a solid inner core and a liquid outer core made of iron and nickel.

Earth’s crust

The layer that floats on top of the mantle and is made of lighter weight rocks and minerals.

electrical technology

Technologies which use electricity as their main power source, for example, light bulbs, electric motors and television.

energy sources

A resource which can be used to provide power. For example, fossil fuels like coal and oil; renewable resources like solar and wind or uranium for nuclear power.

engineer

An expert who designs and builds machines and structures.

evidence

Information which may support or disprove a claim.

evolution

The theory of evolution explains how all the species alive today generated from the first simple life forms on Earth.

exoplanets

Planets which orbit stars outside of our solar system.

expert

A person with a special skill or knowledge in a particular area.

flyby

A path followed by a spacecraft which has been sent close enough to a planet to record scientific data.

fossil fuels

A carbon- based material such as coal, oil, or natural gas that can be used as an energy source. Fossil fuels were originally formed when the remains of living organisms were buried and broken down by intense heat and pressure over millions of years.

gas giants

The four large outermost planets – Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter – which are mostly made of lighter chemical elements like Hydrogen and Helium.

geologist

A scientist who analyses rocks, minerals and landforms.

Goldilocks conditions

The ‘just right’ conditions for life to exist. For example, Earth has the right temperature range, a protective atmosphere and liquid water.

gravity

The energy force which tries to pull two objects toward each other. The bigger an object is, the stronger its gravitational pull.

Homo sapiens

Modern humans who first appeared 300,000 years ago. We are homo sapiens.

hunters and gatherers

Human societies which move from place to place to hunt meat and gather fruit and vegetables to survive.

industrial technology

Machines which operate on a large scale by using energy sources such as water, steam power, oil and coal.

innovation

Using existing knowledge to come up with new technologies or new ways of doing things.

intelligent life

Beings from other planets who are able to think, learn and understand. Scientists continue to search for intelligent life out in the Universe.

intuition

A ‘gut feeling’ that a claim may be true or false.

Jovian planets

The term Jovian planets refers to the large gassy planets furthest from the Sun - Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. They are also known as gas giants.

Karman line

An imaginary line 100 kms above the Earth’s crust where it has been internationally agreed the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins.

KWHLAQ chart

A visible framework which uses a series of step-by-step questions to provide guidance through the creative thinking process.

lander

A spacecraft which has been designed to make a soft landing on a planet or moon etc.

logic

Carefully thinking about a claim to decide whether it makes sense.

mantle

The layer that surrounds the Earth’s core and is made of minerals and rocks which slowly flow in a sludge of melted iron.

matter

Everything around us that has weight and takes up space. All matter is made up of atoms.

meteoroids

Otherwise known as shooting stars, meteoroids are small space rocks which burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

module

A self-contained unit which can be joined together with other units to build something more complex.

multi-planetary species

A species which lives on more than one planet. Humans could become the first known multi-planetary species by establishing a human habitat on Mars.

multicellular organisms

A complex organism which is made up of more than one cell. For example, animals and plants.

natural selection

The process by which individuals in a species who have more successful adaptations have more children, therefore passing their successful adaptations on to future generations.

nuclear fusion

The process of hydrogen atoms being crushed together in a star’s hot centre, releasing heat and energy for billions of years.

orbiter

A spacecraft designed to orbit a planet and collect scientific data over a long period of time.

overpopulation

When a population grows too big for the available resources, for example, food. Humans have, in the past, solved potential problems through innovations such as agriculture.

ozone layer

An invisible layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere which helps to protect us from the Sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.

periodic table

A diagram of all the chemical elements in the Universe. It was created by a Russian chemist named Dmitri Mendeleev.

quasars

Quasi Stellar Objects (Quasars) are believed to be the brightest and most distant objects in the Universe.

radiation

The transfer of energy (heat, sound or light) through waves. It can come from cosmic rays or from the Earth. Too much exposure to radiation is harmful to humans.

redshift

When a star or galaxy moves away, its light waves are stretched out and it has a red glow. This is called redshift and provides evidence that the Universe is expanding.

robotics

A type of technology which allows machines to be programmed to move and complete set tasks.

rocky planets

The four small inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – which are mostly made of heavier chemical elements like iron.

rover

A moving robot which is sent to the surface of another planet to explore, collect scientific data and samples.

self-sustaining

Being able to exist for a long time without outside help by using resources responsibly.

single-celled organisms

A simple organism which is made up of only one cell. For example, simple bacteria.

singularity

The extremely small point which contained the ingredients for everything in the Universe. Everything was crushed together in this singularity at the moment of the Big Bang.

sol

The name of a solar day on Mars, which is 24.65 hours.

star

A massive sphere of very hot gas which makes its own light and energy through nuclear fusion.

supernova

The spectacular explosion which occurs when a massive star dies. It blows chemical elements out into the Universe.

survive

To be able to continue to live. For example, having enough food to avoid dying of starvation.

technology

New tools or methods, developed through the use of scientific knowledge, which can be used to solve problems.

tectonic plates

The large solid-rock moving pieces which make up the Earth’s crust.

thrive

To be able to grow, be successful and become stronger. For example, humans thrive when they are part of a connected community.

timeline

A graphic which includes a list of events placed in the order that they happened.

transform boundary

Where two tectonic plates meet and try to move past each other.

uranium

A chemical element which is found in the Earth’s crust and is used as an energy source in nuclear power plants.

venn diagram

A visual graphic which can be used to compare and contrast two different things.

white dwarf

When a non-massive star runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion it collapses into itself. The leftover core is a compact star called a white dwarf.

x-ray telescope

A type of telescope which works by receiving x-ray signals. It is mainly used to observe space objects and events such as the Sun, stars and supernovae.

Yucatan Peninsula

Location of the Chicxulub Crater where a giant meteor landed 66 million years ago. Scientists think this meteor strike led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

zinc

One of the most common chemical elements in the Earth’s crust.

2Al

Learning summary

Mission Control

In Mission Control students learned all about the 3 big mission phase questions and the requirements they need to fulfil in order to successfully complete their Mars Mission.

Ask students to revisit their Mission Control learning goals and read through them carefully. As they read each learning goal they should tick the check box beside it if they are confident they have achieved that learning goal.

If there are any learning goals that students aren’t confident about, you may like to:

  • suggest that the student/s re-watch the Mission video which relates to that learning goal
  • ask more confident students to explain their understanding
  • organise a one-on-one or small group conference.

Junior 1.2 Post



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