During the two-week program, 15 students from Madison and Brookfield built models of the Martian terrain, designed remote-controlled Rovers using Lego kits provided by the Planetary Society, and created Web pages to document their accomplishments. Each mission team divided its responsibilities based on real-world research tasks: team leader, engineer, scientist, budget director, and communications specialist.
For two and a half hours each morning from June 9 through June 20, the teams met at Lincoln School on Madison's south side. Part of a national Red Rover program, Sanjay's workshop was incorporated into the Space Exploration portion of UW-Madison's College Access Program, a program targeted at motivated minority students. In addition to the fun and adventure of space exploration, Sanjay hopes the workshop offered experience in teamwork, planning, communication, time and resource management, research, writing, and math and computer skills.
By the next day, the Flames had worked themselves out of their dilemma. They had procured tape and all the other materials they needed to construct a truly artistic (and somewhat realistic) Mars landscape. It was marvelous to watch that group and the other two-Notorious MARS and ET-become true teams, each member performing his or her self-designated tasks with little adult intervention (only a little nudging, a pair of helping hands, and occasionally, an answer to a question). By the end of the second week, all three teams had completed their terrain models using various materials on four-foot plywood bases, and functioning Rovers that could navigate them.
Besides learning for themselves, these 15 youngsters are preparing valuable materials to be used in Madison school classes. After the students presented their work to their parents on June 20, the materials were stored so they can be used by David Wirth's fourth and fifth grade classes at Lincoln Elementary School this fall.
This workshop was made possible with funding by UW-Madison's School of Education and the Evjue Foundation as well as liberal involvement by SSEC, including that of outreach specialist Rosalyn Pertzborn.
Updated July 1, 1997 by SSEC's Public Information Officer.