Rovers, Rovers, Everywhere

Artist concept of Curiosity rover on surface of MarsMelody Shaw gave 700 fourth- and fifth-grade students an opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of NASA engineers. Shaw is a science lab teacher at Grenada Upper Elementary School in Grenada, Miss.

After learning about rovers and NASA’s newest robotic rover, Curiosity, Shaw’s students had a chance to build their own. Using resources from NASA’s On the Moon Educator Guide, students completed the challenge “Roving on the Moon,” where they designed, built and tested their very own lunar rovers. Shaw noted that this activity covered several areas of the state-required science and mathematics curriculum and that the testing and redesign steps required her students to think like engineers.

One exciting part of the experience was the community support and family involvement during the lesson. A Grenada business donated two large rolls of corrugated cardboard and straws, which made it possible for all 700 students to design and make their own rovers. After hearing about the activity, some parents requested to help out by cutting the cardboard into squares for each student. Many students said building the project was their favorite activity of the year, and it turned out to be a successful, exciting event for everyone involved.