Mars Habitation - University of Houston
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What is Mars Habitation?

Partnering with Mars Rover, we are piloting a new approach to STEM competitions and sustainable STEM initiatives in low-income communities by creating place-based, project-based learning opportunities in their communities. This is a unique program that will connect the community with partners and their schools and allow communities to connect with other communities through innovation. It gives you the opportunity to be creative, incorporate STEM objectives in lesson plans and design sustainable communities in a martian environment as a facilitator or student. Teams of up to 4 kids from public/low-income housing units will be led by resident facilitators who ensure student participation, parent engagement, curricular integrity with local schools, and national coordination of data and standards.

The competitions allows for new questions about human health, culture integration, sustainable farming, and energy consumption. Partnering with this innovative project is simple and exciting as students utilize everyday resources around their community to construct their Mars mission and settlement. This will enhance the skill sets, knowledge, and confidence for both facilitators and students.

How Does it Work?

Elementary (Grades 3-5) and middle school (Grades 6-8) students interested in science and engineering can participate in the programs! This program is a hands-on, STEM-based project that asks students to work with a curriculum to imagine and design a community on Mars, then express their ideas through the arts and humanities, integrating 21st Century skills. It enables students to explore their own community and decide which arts, scientific, and cultural elements will be important on Mars.

Students will design and construct a model of a Mars community and write of a short story about themselves in that community on Mars. The students will be given design criteria for the community, and be required to do basic research on Mars that will determine the operational objectives and structural features of their colony. This module may be used as part of a class studying general science, earth science, solar system astronomy, architecture, writing, art or social sciences as a multi-disciplinary unit. 

Students will have the chance to showcase their talent at the 2019 Mars Rover Celebration at the University of Houston in March. At the Celebration, students will be able to talk to aerospace professionals and learn more about space exploration. Selected projects will receive awards.

Students Will...

  1. Create a team of 2-4 members that will design and construct a model rover to carry out a science mission on the surface of Mars. (The model will be a mock-up constructed at a minimal cost ($10-$25) of mostly found objects and simple art supplies).
  2. Utilize the curriculum and forms to guide their research.
  3. A complete entry will include:
    • A model of a Mars community
    • A "guide" booklet describing the mission and the model
    • Receipts documenting expenses
    • A short, illustrated story from EACH team member.
    • A presentation skit (less than 5 minutes) to be performed for the Judges during the contest.


Registration, scheduling and volunteer/judges information can be found on the Mars Rover website