During the month of October, all Travis Ranch Middle School students in grades 6-8 participated in an interdisciplinary project between the Science and Language Arts Department to compete in NASA’s “Name the Rover” Contest. Students learned about the forthcoming mission by completing an interactive Hyperdoc in their science classes, and then selected a name at the end of that activity.
Next, they wrote their essay defending the name they chose with the tutelage of their Language Arts teachers. During the last week of October, students submitted their formal entries in their science classes. NASA plans to announce the winner on Feb. 18, 2020, exactly one year before Mars 2020 is scheduled to touch down on the red planet.
NASA has a tradition of letting students name their Mars rovers. For example, the Curiosity Rover got its moniker about a decade ago from a sixth grader in Kansas. The Mars 2020 rover will seek signs of past microbial life, collect surface samples as the first leg of a potential Mars Sample Return campaign, and test technologies to produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere to prepare for future human missions.
Way to go, Trailblazers!