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Review the life-support system note for background information on Mars, potential system solutions and issues to consider that might help direct your discussion with students.
Canadian National Marsville (CNM) is a unique programme derived from the Challenger Learning Center's Marsville programme. Students practice problem solving techniques through the study of the systems necessary to sustain life on Mars.
Students are assigned to teams within their school and each team is assigned one of nine life-support systems to design and build. Over a three month period (January to April), students work cooperatively to clarify the requirements for their systems, brainstorm solutions and construct working models. Life-support systems include; air, communications, energy, food, health and recreation, temperature, transportation, waste, and water. Special teams also work to develop a remotely-controlled rover.
Students also take part in other space-related science and engineering activities. They may share their results and challenge other teams through their team blog.
Teams come together on Link-up Day to share their findings, build a Martian community and communicate with sites from across Canada via videoconference. There are no judges and no competition - the message is cooperative problem solving!
Mentors are assigned to teams to assist with the execution of the programme. The mentor acts as a general support person for the teacher - an enthusiastic programme cheerleader.
Students look to the mentor as a role model - a person in the field that they can look up to. The mentor's role is to lead teams through problem solving by asking questions:
They also help students stay on task and they inject reality in the programme with demonstrations and/or presentations.
November - orientation session for teachers and mentors
January - program kick-off
February though April - mentors visit schools (1 or 2 sessions)
April - Link-Up Day