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Junior Journalist Update from Mead – By Ella S.

A Mission to Mars heat shieldOne new and very special part of the Magnet curriculum this year includes a teamwork and engineering challenge called “Mission to Mars.” In the “Mission to Mars,” students are transformed into Mars Exploration Engineers, who are faced with specific criteria and constraint challenges in the process of colonizing Mars.

“Mission to Mars I” focused on getting to Mars safely and in a timely manner. “Mission to Mars II,” which began in December, has been just as exceptional as part I. Now that the Magnet Mars Exploration Engineers have successfully landed on Mars, they are working on making Mars habitable and hospitable.

“I’ve never had this much fun and challenge in science before. This has really pushed Magnet to the next level,” said Maya, a Magnet student. “So far, my favorite challenge has been Mission to Mars II Level 3. In this level, we designed a heat shield out of basic materials to protect our ‘eggstronauts’ when entering the Martian atmosphere. To test them, our teacher put them over a Bunsen burner for a minute, and we tested whether the heat shield safely protected the egg (that the egg didn’t crack from the heat, and was still raw after). Some teams’ heat shields actually caught on fire! Their ‘eggstronauts’ did not survive.”

The Magnet crew and Mr. Pfeifer, the Magnet science teacher at Mead, were excited to report on their awesome findings as they finished up “Mission to Mars” before winter break.

District 54’s Junior Journalists are seventh- and eighth-grade students from each of our junior high schools and Lincoln Prairie School who write monthly stories about their building for the District 54 website.