Elementary Students Execute a Mission to Mars via WSU

OGDEN, Utah – Teams of fifth graders from the Davis School District will complete a Mission to Mars with the culmination of “Link-Up Day” in Weber State University’s Shepherd Union Ballrooms on Dec. 4 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

During the activity, 160 students will construct inflatable plastic habitats 12 feet in diameter by 8 feet high suitable to sustain life on Mars. A series of tunnels will connect the student projects. At the day’s conclusion, students cut those tunnels, linking all of the habitats to the colony — hence the name Link-Up Day.

The mission is sponsored by WSU’s College of Applied Science and Technology and the Hill Air Force Base STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Outreach Program. The event is modeled after the acclaimed mission simulations of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education. Link-Up Day at Weber State has been modified to include Air Force technologies and terminologies and will provide a unique hands-on learning opportunity for area students.

“The Mission to Mars gives the students a chance to expand their understanding of the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math with hands-on experience and applications, while giving the students a chance to show off their hard work, knowledge and teamwork,” said Debbie Roach, STEM Outreach Coordinator, HAFB. “It's STEM made fun.”

Link-Up Day is the culmination of several months of work with Mission to Mars. HAFB provided a training workshop and materials for teachers in the fall; teachers then helped students learn about the planet and the special challenges it poses to human settlement. During the Mission to Mars simulation, participants will complete complex challenges in engineering, math, teamwork, leadership and written and oral communication.

“When you excite students with hands-on experiences like a Mar’s colonization simulation and reinforce classroom learning with creative applications of science and engineering concepts, students get motivated and want to learn,” said Rainie Ingram, WSU’s Engineering and Technology Outreach coordinator. “The college is thrilled to partner with Hill Air Force on the Mission to Mars project so these learning opportunities are accessible to fifth grade students in our surrounding schools.”

Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.
Rainie Ingram, coordinator, Engineering and Technology Outreach
801-626-7785 • ringram@weber.edu

Debbie Roach, STEM outreach coordinator, HAFB
801-777-4177 • deborah.roach@hill.af.mil
Allison Barlow Hess, director of Public Relations
801-626-7948 • ahess@weber.edu