Children compete with Mars Rover
Students from various schools and youth clubs will participate in an annual Mars Rover competition.
The 2009-2010 Mars Rover Model Celebration will take place at the University Center Houston Room on Jan. 30, 2010.
UH, the Texas Learning & Computation Center and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Houston Section will host the event.
The main objective will be to gather mainstream talent from various Houston-area schools.
The mission of this event is “to build enthusiasm for space science and exploration, and more generally, careers in a (science, technology, engineering or math) field amongst elementary and middle school students in the greater-Houston area,” UH physics professor and Mars Rover Model Celebration founder Edgar Bering said.
To qualify, children must be 8-14 years old and in third to eighth grade.
Last year, 300 children from 14 schools in the greater-Houston area participated.
Bering said that in 2010, about 600 children from 28 Houston-area schools and youth groups are expected to participate.
During the program, students will build a replica of a Mars rover as part of a six-week classroom project.
According to the Mars rover Web site, students will do basic research on Mars and be given design criteria for their rover that they can apply toward a class that studies earth science, solar systems or robotics.
Although the program officially begins in January, teachers whose students are participating attended a training program in September and have been working with the children since October.
Bering said the children would set up their models in January to be judged by NASA volunteers.
The deadline for students to sign up to participate is Dec. 20.
Texas Learning & Computation Center Director of Communications Kim Usey said the mission of the program is to expose Houston children to the STEM fields.
“The idea is to show students how interesting and exciting the sciences can be to study and to work in,” Usey said.
Usey said the students participating would take a UH campus tour that would make stops at the Center for Advanced Materials, including its observatory, and the state-of-the-art visualization theater at the Texas Learning & Computation Center.
“The event is put on every year to spur students’ enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and math, and it’s part of a national focus on giving kids the idea that they can go on to college and major in these fields,” Usey said.