As part of their curriculum at Saint Mary School in Ridgefield, Grade 6 students learn about our solar system and beyond. With NASA’s projected landing on Mars in 2035, students were given a STEM challenge to design a Mars colony for the humans to use on this mission. As teams, they had to discuss and design solutions for the everyday things in life we take for granted here on Earth.
Their completed projects - a model colony and Keynote presentation - had to include an agricultural component in which they needed to demonstrate how they would grow food, a plan to find and recycle water for the plants, as well as a strategy to enrich the Martian soil to sustain plants, areas for everyday tasks - cooking, relaxing, analyzing data collected, communicating with Earth, disposing of wastes, bathing and changing into and out of spacesuits.
Additionally, the spacesuits had to be designed to resist the sand storms, challenging terrain and lack of oxygen. Another important component was to devise an energy source for their daily chores as well as for the rovers they would also need to design and build. Finally, they needed to make decisions about their team. Why are they going to Mars and for how long? Who would go? Doctors, engineers, geologists, mechanics, pilot?
Mrs. Thompson, SMS Science Teacher was impressed with the creativity and innovation. "Their ideas for extracting water and their living quarters were really varied and interesting. Grade 6 enjoyed explaining the process and engineering designs to students in Grades 4 and 5."
To schedule a tour of Saint Mary School, call 203-438-7288. To learn more about the admission process, click here.
Saint Mary School is located at 183 High Ridge Ave in the heart of Ridgefield.