PGCPS LogoPrince George's County Public Schools
  • Expedition Mars

    Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Quarter 1 Online Registration (transportation granted funded fall 2019 for PGCPS)
    Quarter 2 Online Registration (transportation granted funded fall 2019 for PGCPS)
    Quarter 3 Online Registration
    Quarter 4 Online Registration

    Join us throughout 2019-20 we virtually explore space at the HBOSC Challenger Learning Center.

    Expedition Mars!

    Program Description
    2 hour program
    1 class (32 students)
    The Expedition Mars mission contains all the elements that characterize Challenger: teamwork, individual challenges, and exposure to STEM career opportunities, plus excitement and up-to-date science.
    Set in the future, around 2076, a handful of facilities have been established on the Martian surface. The primary human habitat is located on Mars’ moon Phobos. A large Mars Transport Vehicle regularly ferries astronauts and scientists (student teams) between Phobos and the Martian surface. The Mars Transport Vehicle carries parts for building two probes for geological exploration. The student teams are tasked with looking for evidence of water and life on Mars. All teams will work toward this goal by following their own unique paths while collaborating with other teams.

    Challenger Center encourages exploration and inquiry and excites young people about knowledge and learning. Challenger Center strives to:

    • Increase student interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math.)
    • Give abstract concepts concrete meaning.
    • Help students develop realistic processes of team work, communication, critical thinking, and problem solving.
    • Increase student autonomy and responsibility for their learning.
    • Encourage students to develop positive perspectives about learning.
    • Increase student commitment to learning.

    Challenger Center programs are designed to reflect academic standards and support the work being completed in the classroom. The mission should not be seen as a one-off activity, but rather it should be viewed as another way to engage students and support the current curriculum.


    Pre-Visit Materials

    Post Visit Materials
    Post Visit Materials


    Next Generation Science Standards

    Performance Expectation 

    Disclaimer: These and other performance expectations will be part of the Expedition Mars mission, but no PE will be covered in its entirety.

    MS‐ETS1‐2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
    MS‐ETS1‐3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design
    solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better
    meet the criteria for success.
    MS‐PS4‐2. Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials
    MS‐PS1‐2. Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
    MS‐ESS2‐5. Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.

    Science and Engineering Practices

    Asking Questions and Defining Problems
    Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
    Engaging in Argument from Evidence
     - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Connections to Nature of Science
    Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence

    Disciplinary Core Ideas

    Chemical reactions
    Information technologies and instrumentation

     Cross Cutting Concepts

     Structure and Function
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Connections to Nature of Science
    Science is a Human Endeavor

     Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards (MD-CCRS)
    RST.6‐8.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.
    RST.6‐8.3: Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
    WHST.6‐8.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    WHST.6‐8.7: Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self‐generated question) drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
    MP.2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

    Computer Science
    CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards, Revised 2017
    Grades 3–6 (L1:6.CL) (Level 1, Collaboration)
    The student will be able to:
    2. Use online resources (e.g., email, online discussions, collaborative web environments) to participate in collaborative problem solving activities for the purpose of developing solutions or products.
    Source: CSTA Computer Science Standards