Shuttle to Mars

Web Quest for Elementary Grades

By VA Smith

Introduction Task Process Evaluation Conclusion Resources

Teacher Resource


Congratulations! After reviewing many applications your class has been chosen to join our maiden voyage to Mars on our new "Zip" shuttle bus. Your class will have three weeks to prepare for the voyage. In one month you will be preparing for take-off. We have taken the liberty of assigning you to teams to help with your preflight preparations. We look forward to our communication reports as you prepare for this important event.

Our Commander on site (your teacher) will be available for questions and help. Please be advised the commander will use the evaluation table found when you click here to determine the success of your preparations.





You are now crewmembers of the "Zip" shuttle bus to Mars. Your preflight work is important for a success of the mission. Your team will need to meet and do research on the assigned tasks. Written communications reports will be due weekly. In three weeks you will need to communicate with the other crews to prepare them for the final take off. Remember the success of the mission depends on all crewmembers being prepared for their part of the mission. Once we take off there is no returning. Cooperation is the key to success on this mission.






Below are the crew tasks. Push on the crew name to locate research links and helps. All tasks must be ready in three weeks to prepare for last minute changes and preparations for lift off. Work must be completed or the next scheduled trip for the Zip shuttle bus will be delayed. We are depending on you.


 ET (Environment team) - Information from your crew will be very important to help others prepare for their tasks. You will share with them your knowledge of Mars. Be prepared to tell other crews what life on Mars is like. What will they see when they are on Mars? Will they need special equipment to land on the surface? Can you find a good place to land? Remember others will use your research as they complete their tasks.


Outfitters - Your task is to inform your crew about the type and amount of luggage they may bring. You will need to include clothes for the month you will spend on the shuttle bus mission. Don’t forget to include activities for the free time you have during the mission. You will need to include weight limits since the available weight for personal luggage is 1000 pounds for the entire crew.


 Diet Pros — The entire team will be depending on you to feed them on this mission. You will need to create a menu for three meals a day for one month. Don’t forget to include a few snacks. Remember your storage space is limited and fresh food will spoil.


 Time Travelers — For one month the crew will need a schedule to help with the daily routines of the mission. The "Zip" is limited in the amount of eating space, sleeping quarters, and recreation area. The crew will need to be divided into teams and assigned a time schedule to use. Your job will be to create a time schedule and explain it to the crew.


Learning Team — While on the Mars mission your class will be responsible for conducting experiments. You will need to research and create 3-4 experiments to use aboard the shuttle bus. All the equipment and materials you use will need to be included in the luggage your crew is allowed.







Mission Control will need from each team a written weekly report of the sources you have investigated and the progress you have made. Your success as a team will be determined by the following:

Needs Improvement 0-5 points

Satisfactory 5-10 points

Excellent 10-15 points

Self Evaluation 1-5 points

Weekly report in

Weekly reports on time

Weekly reports on time with spelling correct

Did you help your team members with;

Sat in team meetings

Participated in team meetings

Team worked together on research and weekly/final reports

Staying on task

Final report given — not complete

Used 2 or more sources for research

Used more then 3 sources for research

Writing reports


Final report given —task clear

Final report given by more then one team member — task was clear

Looking at research



Presentation of final report


Final Grades

Superior 12-20 points

Satisfactory 6-12 points

Unsatisfactory 0-6







The mission preparation is now complete. The crewmembers have given their final reports and are ready for take off. The crews have used team work and research skills for the work they have completed. You are ready for lift off.







 Mars Information
PDS Mars Explorer for the Armchair Astronaut
Mars Team Online Photos
About Mars - Landmarks on Mars
TES 95-96 Curriculum Guide, Mars Facts
Mars Photos - Martian Moons
Other places to look at



Life in Space

StarChild: A Learning Center for Young Astronomers
LIfe in Space (6) Space Suits

Crew Lockers

OSF Spaceflight Questions and Answers
Interview your crewmates for suggestions on use of recreation time.
Food Ideas
LIfe in Space (4) Food
Space Shuttle Food System
Food for Space Flight
HSF - The Shuttle - Food
HSF - The Shuttle
OSF Spaceflight Questions and Answers

You may want to also do the following:



Time Schedules
You will need to look at life on the shuttle. Make a shedule for twenty four hours. Don't forget everyone on the crew needs to:

Click on the titles below to help you learn about shuttle life.

OSF Spaceflight Questions and Answers

You will need to move down the page on this web stie until you find section 5 to see a time schedule.

Shuttle Schedule



Experiments in Science

Look into the science experiments your class has done. Also check out science fair projects as a source for ideas. Your Commander (teacher) may also have science books for you to look at.

Remember when you are in space the effect of gravity is different then earth. Growing things and watching animals in zero gravity can be science experiments. Click the titles below for some experiments that could be fun to do.

The T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. Project
THE SCIENCE CLUB: Kids' projects here

OSF Spaceflight Questions and Answers -Look at questions 12 and 28 then look for other questions about experiments in space.


Commander - Teacher Resources

Below are web sites to use to enrich your study of Mars. Some of the sites may be useful for the whole class to view or may help some groups with their research. 

Mars Online Photos

Background Photos of Mars

Mars Team Online - Kids' Corner

Mariner 9 Photos

Other Mars photos and web sites

Nasa Mars  - New site for Mars information

This is a Mars fun way to take a mars quiz.

Mars Challenge

Here is a musical composition about the planets to listen to.

The Planets Suite


Other resources:



Magazine articles:



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