• STEAM Project: Magnetometers
    Grade 6 Science Unit: Space Systems
    MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
    MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
    MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

    Part 1:  Space Challenges  
    Space presents many unique challenges. Read about the Apollo 13 mission. When done, turn and talk to your group about the article. Be sure your group can answer the following questions:
    • What was the original goal of the mission?
    • What was the problem? 
    • What were the effects of the initial problem?  
     Apollo Mission Badge
    Houston, we have a problem... 
    Designing Under Pressure 
    NASA's Finest Hour 
    This clip shows how NASA dealt with the Carbon Dioxide problem on the craft using only the materials available to the astronauts. 

    Part 2:  Mars
    Mars has always been a source of fascination for humans. Read about Mars and take notes. What are the features that would help humans on Mars? 
    Then explore Mars via NASA's Martian tour.  
    Terraforming Mars
    Terraforming Mars (changing Mars to make it possible for human colonization) necessitates three major changes: building up the magnetosphere, building up the atmosphere, and raising the temperature. 
    The Big Idea:  Making Mars the New Earth

    Part 3:  MAVEN
    We are exploring Mars to see what happened to its atmosphere, to gain insight into its climate, find liquid water, and uncover its prospects for habitability.  
    Mars MAVEN (image left)  is a space probe launched in 2013. The mission is exploring the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind.
       Magnetic Fields

    Read about Magnetospheres Answer the questions:
    • Why is the Earth's magnetosphere important?  
    • Why would we be interested in a Martian Magnetosphere? 

    MAVEN Magnetometers
    The MAVEN is equipped with magnetometers. A magnetometer is an instrument used for measuring magnetic forces. 
    The image to the right is the magnetometer that NASA sent on the Mars Maven mission.  
     MAVEN finding: 
    • Why does Mars no longer have an atmosphere?
    • How does this relate to the magnetosphere?  
    Part 4: STEAM Challenge
    Now that you know about MAVEN and our search for magnetism on Mars, NASA needs YOUR help! The magnetometers on MAVEN have malfunctioned. We need to create a new, smaller, handheld magnetometer to scan the Martian surface (for a robotic arm).

    You will create a magnetometer that is able to detect any magnetism on the Martian surface. You will use the design loop model to work on the project.            
    Design Loop Model                                            Design and Plan Organizer 

    Your magnetometer must differentiate between weak and strong magnetic spots. These spots will be plotted on a grid map.
     Grid Map of Martian Surface

    • The device must be able to be carried by one person. 
    • The device can only use the materials listed below.  
    • The device can not spill or leave anything behind.  

    craft sticks
    rubber bands
    aluminum foil
    steel wool 
    plastic wrap
    cups (assorted)
    cardboard pieces
    steel wool pads 
    iron filings 
    water bottles
     Dorian Gemellaro
Last Modified on April 21, 2017