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Design a Mars Colony STEM/STEAM Project Bundle!

Vivify STEM
Grade Levels
4th - 12th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • Zip
  • Compatible with 
86 pages
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Vivify STEM
Compatible with Easel Activities
Some resources in this bundle can be made into interactive versions that students can complete on any device. Easel is free to use! Learn more.

Products in this Bundle (4)

    Also included in

    1. Space STEM Starter Challenges MEGA Bundle: Upper Elementary & Middle SchoolLaunch your students into STEM with these space-themed STEM challenges that incorporate the engineering design process. This mega bundle includes engaging STEM activities for space activities and design challenges all yea
      Save $38.83


    Design a colony on Mars! Take your STEM or STEAM classroom or program to the next level with this in-depth engineering design STEM challenge. Students will apply scientific concepts, math skills, critical thinking, research, and engineering design to plan a long term habitat on Mars. This creative and in-depth project is a great activity for your classroom or afterschool program! Watch the video and learn more about this project here.

    Distance Learning Update:

    This bundle has been updated to include an editable STEM journal and handouts for distance learning.

    Click here to see a video of projects from students during distance learning.

    Designing a Mars Colony is a real multidisciplinary project. Students will need to consider questions like: How will colonists get food? What is the Martian environment like? Will our colony have a government? How do we prevent boredom?

    Mars Colony STEM Challenge Overview

    Students learn about current efforts to colonize Mars and the harsh environment of this barren world. Students research and brainstorm engineering and mental health design solutions to keep colonists alive, healthy, and happy. The final colony design is put to the test with various scenarios. Educators may take this project a step further by providing students materials to build the final colony design and present to judges.

    As a student-driven assignment, the purpose of the teacher is to act as a facilitator. You will provide the structure to the project, but students will take an active role in research, design, and building. This product is based on a 5 week long engineering design project where student teams research and develop prototypes for a Mars Colony. Prototypes are built from recycled materials and presented to STEM professionals for judging. The depth of this project is dependent on the available time frame and classroom needs. The product includes instructions for prototype building, but this component is completely optional.

    Product 1: Explore Mars

    Teach students all about Mars through 5 interactive games and activities! These games have students moving, creating, and learning basic facts about Mars including information on temperature, gravity, geography, atmosphere, and location. Activities require minimal supplies such as paper and a projector.

    Product 2: STEM Project Guide

    This complete project guide take students through the engineering design process to think about, research, design, and build a colony on Mars! Student handouts include reflection on society on Earth, learning about Mars, research, brainstorming solutions, designing colony, testing colony against scenarios, and final design layout. Includes video resource links for instructors. Updated with digital STEM journal for distance learning.

    Product 3: Mission to Mars Planning Game

    Students work in teams to complete the ultimate project-based learning STEM experience: planning a long-term settlement on Mars! These activities can be used as a companion to Mars Colony STEM Project Guide. This Mission to Mars Planning Game product dives deeper into possible colony solutions, adds an interactive and game-like planning tool, and is especially useful for students that need more guidance, ideas for design solutions, or have limited internet access.

    Through game cards, students are introduced to real NASA technologies such as hydroponics, solar tents, MOXIE oxygen generator, and more! Students also learn about exciting current events in space exploration including the recent NASA Insight landing probe that reached the surface of Mars. As students read each game card, they debate the pros and cons of real technologies to support their own mission to Mars while staying withing budget and power limits.

    Below are the different systems that teams will explore:

    • Food
    • Energy
    • Water
    • Air
    • Communication
    • Science Experiments
    • Rovers
    • Eating areas
    • Hygiene
    • Exercise
    • Sleeping
    • Entertainment

    Looking for more STEM lessons? Find the Vivify resource guide here: bit.ly/VivifyResourceGuide

    About STEM Challenges: Click here to learn more about the 3 Stages of STEM. STEM challenges are an engaging way to incorporate the engineering design process into your classroom or after school program! These hands-on activities allow students to work in teams, apply the engineering design process, and connect science topics to real-world applications. The teacher will provide the structure to the project, but students will take an active role in designing and building their own device.

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    Total Pages
    86 pages
    Answer Key
    Teaching Duration
    1 month
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    to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
    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.
    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.
    Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system. Emphasis is on the analysis of data from Earth-based instruments, space-based telescopes, and spacecraft to determine similarities and differences among solar system objects. Examples of scale properties include the sizes of an object’s layers (such as crust and atmosphere), surface features (such as volcanoes), and orbital radius. Examples of data include statistical information, drawings and photographs, and models. Assessment does not include recalling facts about properties of the planets and other solar system bodies.
    Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
    Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.


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