STEM Ambassador Curiosity Project

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Mars Rover Landing

Landing an egg on Mars…

For the last couple of months I have been visiting a science class at Cardinal Winning secondary school in Glasgow. They requested the help of a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths) Ambassador for their project looking at the Mars Rover Curiosity. We started by attempting to build and control our own version of the Rover using the a LEGO Mindstorm kit. The set contains motors, sensors and a small computer for running programs – we looked at the different sensors and how we could use them on our Rover. The build went really well and before long we were able to send it off across the floor.

Model of the Mars Curiosity

So next thing, how to land it on Mars? Unfortunately we don’t have the budget of NASA so instead we considered the problem of protecting an egg dropped from a high window. When faced with a problem like this at work we would often use a brainstorming workshop to generate ideas before taking the best ideas forward, so I thought I would try this out with the class at school. Armed with post-its and pens, the class got stuck in and I was really pleased with how well they all responded to the session. I suppose it is a bit different from their normal lesson and I was even asked, “Is this really what you do as part of your job?”

Ideas Generation

Some great ideas came out – although I’m not sure about the practicalities of the “Jump after it” concept. However, in a brainstorm there is no such thing as a bad idea, so up it went with the rest of them.

Build it…

Next session, we are going to have a go at building some of our ideas so that we can find out which ones might work.

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