'Destination Mars' will feature innovative pilot program that extends Space Week with STEM activities
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Brevard Schools Foundation is the recipient of a $120,000 grant from The Boeing Company that will fund the expansion of STEM initiatives centered around the augmentation and expansion of the Destination Space program as well as the development and implementation of the new Destination Mars program and space exploration education curriculum.
The great “space race” is being revitalized with Mars in mind, and the monies provided by The Boeing Company will expand the curriculum surrounding the Destination Space Program (formerly known as Space Week) for sixth-grade students at Brevard Public Schools.
A new program called Destination Mars will feature an innovative pilot program that extends Space Week with STEM activities and two competition days. Several BPS departments are collaborating to host a Destination Mars Innovation Day in February 2019 for students and teachers representing fourteen pilot schools.
This program will feature STEM class activities and/or an after-school STEM club. Participating teachers were provided with training and received STEM challenges and materials to take back to their students.
The challenges for this year include:
• Programming and designing circuit-based objects using MakeCode and Adafruit Circuit playgrounds.
• Coding and designing in Minecraft to create a habitat on Mars.
• Programming Ozobot robots to maneuver on and complete tasks on a map.
• Using the engineering design challenge model to create a model of something that will help humans inhabit and maintain homeostasis on Mars.
In addition to the expansion of Destination Space and the creation of Destination Mars, these resources are providing new programs to engage middle and high school students as they pursue their education and interest in STEM applications.
Brevard Public Schools is cultivating tomorrow’s innovators and problem solvers by engaging today’s students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) challenges.
With the support of the Boeing Company funding, BPS will create opportunities for students to engage in STEM design challenges, for teachers to receive STEM collaborative facilitation support, and for STEM industry workforce volunteers to participate in meaningful ways.
A 20 member science teacher team will develop STEM standard aligned collaborative challenges for implementation in their classrooms with over 400 students who will participate in the pilot STEM design challenge series.
During the 2018-2019 school year, a science teacher mentor/mentee program will provide opportunities for middle school and high school students to share in real-world applications of STEM challenges to prepare them for the exponential growth of the advancing technologies here on the Space Coast.
“The Mars program has inspired my students to be thinkers,” said Mrs. Hollis, a teacher at Palm Bay Elementary.
“Destination Mars motivates my kids to identify endless challenges we may face in our mission to Mars; for the endless challenges they can identify twice as many solutions. I am over the moon by my students’ response to this program. They are scouring daily to earn extra time beyond our meetings to conduct research and engage with the electronics.”
Brevard Public Schools is committed to meeting the need of local companies who will require an educated workforce.
“Boeing is committed to supporting our youth through STEM initiatives that will inspire and engage them with hands-on projects tied to space education,” said Ingrid Piedrahita, Boeing community investor.
“We want students to be curious, engaged and passionate about their pursuits and be inspired to become lifelong learners, dreamers and doers.”
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