MaSTEM (Adventure of Mars with STEM) – FINDING SOLUTION TO THE WATER PROBLEM IN MARS CONDITIONS

Author: Gonca Bahar

As a team, we have been part of the ASTRO-STEM eTwinning Project and we started to search for solutions to the water problem in Mars conditions. We carried out a study within the project, in which 12 mixed country teams are included and different studies will be brought together. The “ASTRO-STEM” project is designed to raise students’ awareness with accurate information about astronomy and space sciences. It aims to explore the depths of the universe with STEM studies by having fun in open learning environments where students can express themselves comfortably.

With this project, students learned about astronomers, history of astronomy, constellations and mythological stories, our galaxy, sky atlas, telescopes, and astronomy diary. An important part of this project is based on the STEM approach. With the STEM approach, students are expected to reach their project goals. For this purpose, participation in “2020 STEM Discovery Campaign” has been encouraged within the scope of “ASTRO-STEM” project.

First, in our Ma-STEM project, we told the students: “You are part of a team commissioned by NASA to work on Mars. Your team is called Ma-STEM. Before starting a Mars mission, you need to work and prepare. What does a team traveling to Mars need to build a life there? They sought an answer to his question. We identified 11 main problems with the task. Since the first students had to be informed about this, we needed questions. These questions were as follows:

Mars through the eyes of an astronaut:
• What do people need to know to live on Mars?
• Home design for those who dream of living on Mars, because taking refuge is one of the most important problems.
• What are the contributions of asteroid mining or space mining to the world economy?
• Eliminating the problem of psychological and social adjustment to Mars conditions, because there will be problems.
• What are the features of vehicles sent to space?
How to prepare an astronaut for space travel?
• Solving the food problem under the Mars problem.
• What are the things you need to take with you on your way to Mars?
• Finding a solution to the water problem in Mars conditions.
• What are the features of an astronaut suit suitable for Mars conditions?

Finally, each group decided democratically on the subject they wanted to research. Each group prepared their chosen topic with a different web 2 tool.

The task which we performed with students from mixed schools as the 11th team, is to seek solutions to the water problem in Martian conditions. For this, the planet Mars was first introduced. 3D images of the planet Mars were monitored in the classroom environment by working on the planet Mars. Also, Scientists’ ideas were discussed about the water there. Studies and the articles regarding water on Mars topic that appeared in the media were researched. The goal was to learn the conditions of Mars. The importance of water for life and people was emphasized in order to search for solutions to the water problem.

Interviews were conducted to plan the work with the students in the team and it was decided to conduct a survey. Mentor teachers of the teams also explained the teamwork to each other by organising webinars and exchanging ideas.

In order to draw attention to the water problem on Mars, this time a questionnaire was considered about the importance of water for living creatures. For this, a survey, containing 10 questions was prepared by our students using the SurveyMonkey Web 2 tool.

The aim was to combine this with the importance of water and the work on Mars to address the issue in its entirety. Thus, the students both studied the planet Mars and tried to find solutions for the water problem on Mars by drawing attention to the water problem.

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