The World's Forum for Aerospace Leadership

  • Donate
  • Press Room
  • Renew
  • View Cart
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    Curriculum Materials

    Mars Rover Celebration

    Curriculum Materials

    Mars-Rover-Celebration-GuideMars Rover

    This interdisciplinary module encompasses Martian geology, vulcanology, atmospheric science, biogeophysics, and space physics, as well as the engineering disciplines of aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, power systems engineering, thermal management, robotics, mechanical engineering, and systems design. This module also develops language arts, reading comprehension, technical writing, and oral communication skills are developed. Student study skills are also addressed through the development of organizational, interpersonal, and project management skills. The underpinning of students learning through this program is the implementation of a curriculum using instructional strategies that promote comprehension, knowledge retention, and student interest and motivation.

    An integrated interdisciplinary science content with applied engineering principles in an inquiry-focused but outcomes-based mission project. Targeted at students in grades 3-8, it can be implemented as a six-week fall semester classroom or homework project on Mars, or as the basis for an after-school informal education project, and may be used as part of a unit in classes studying general science, Earth science, solar system astronomy, or robotics, or as a multidisciplinary unit that spans courses. The heart of the Mars Rover Celebration module is an inquiry-based collaborative learning process. The program begins with students learning about the mission design process, the design criteria for a rover, and conducting basic research on Mars. The students do the research using NASA Mars mission curriculum enrichment materials and the main NASA Mars mission websites. Students apply this knowledge to design their own Mars mission.

    Download the curriculum materials and supply list so you will be ready to go when you get to the workshop.


    The Mars Rover module involves a team approach using research, engineering design, finance and budget, and a presentation on their solution to an audience to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts of their research, defend their solution, and demonstrate thier knowledge and the scope of the project.

    At the end of the project, each school may have the option to select teams to participate in a capstone event where they showcase their projects to invited volunteer professionals in STEM fields and to the public, and receive feedback in the form of an evaluation. The teams present what they have learned, the skills they have developed, and their excitement about a STEM project through their models and their oral and written presentations. This culminating event brings together teachers, informal educators, parents, and students with scientists and engineers, designed to foster close interactions. In a situation where student, teacher, and parents have never known any working adult engineers, professors, or graduate students, one cannot overestimate the value and power of such relationships. Usually, a nearby college campus will be the venue for this event, allowing for the arrangement of tours of participating research labs and facilities, further reinforcing exposure to professionals and careers in a STEM field. The kids learn first-hand that real space scientists also have kids, pets, and a sense of humor.

    For additional AIAA Educator Academy Curriculum Modules or to download additional resources for the Mars Rover Curriculum Module, please visit:

    Mars Rover Lesson Plans  

    Engineering Design Process

    State the Problem   •   Generate Ideas   •   Select a Solution

    Build the Item   •   Evaluate and Test   •   Refine   •   Present Results