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Mission to Mars: Middle School Distance Learning STEM Curriculum

Vivify STEM
Grade Levels
5th - 9th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • Zip
187 pages
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Vivify STEM

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  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
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Looking for a complete STEM curriculum that includes hands-on engineering design, real-world connections, science, and math connections all centered around one theme? Look no further with our Launchpad: Mission to Mars curriculum! Read a detailed blog post overview here.

**Now updated with a distance learning version that includes Google slide handouts and instructional videos!

Transform your classroom into a team of astronauts on a Mission to Mars!

This STEM curriculum begins with Stage 1 team challenges that build teamwork and communication skills. Astronaut Alex then guides the class through Stage 2 engineering design challenges with each unit a progressively more complex design challenge as students arrive at and explore Mars. Units are aligned to science and math standards along with a different career focus and STEM word of the day such as teamwork, resilience, and leadership.

Through interactive sessions, Launchpad students become a team of astronauts challenged to complete 10 missions centered around a Journey to Mars. Each week, students will read a message from Astronaut Alex, who will introduce the activity, provide background context, and connect to a STEM career. Students will then engage in hands-on activities centered around the engineering design process.

Tested curriculum: 35 educators have implemented Launchpad with over 500 students in 40 schools!

Launchpad curriculum includes 10 STEM challenges:

  1. Meet the Crew: Team Challenges
  2. Astronaut Training: Mars Trivia Game
  3. Get to mars: Straw Rockets Engineering Challenge
  4. Land on Mars: Landing Device Engineering Challenge
  5. Emergency on Mars: Coke + Mentos Experiment
  6. Exploring Mars: Catapult Engineering Challenge
  7. Build a Rover: Conductivity Science Experiment + Bristlebot Engineering Challenge
  8. Discovery on Mars: Mars Crater Teamwork + Engineering Challenge
  9. Entertainment on Mars: Makey Makey Video Game Engineering Challenge
  10. Mission Success: STEM Career Bingo Game

Curriculum includes:

  • Digital version with Google Slides and instructional videos
  • Intro to STEM Education
  • 10 STEM Missions following a story line
  • Supply list with links
  • Alignment to NGSS, TEKS (Texas), and CCSS Math
  • Step-by-step teacher guide with photos
  • Student mission sheets with real-world connections and photos


Bring Space Club to your school! If you are interested in a space-themed curriculum, check out our Space Club missions that connect students from around the world! In partnership with NASA, Vivify STEM runs semester-long space missions that include engineering design challenges, weekly career chats, a live leaderboard,

career chats with astronauts and engineers, and a chance to win robots and telescopes! From afterschool clubs to STEM classes, teachers can implement Space Club either in-person or through distance learning. Click here to register or apply for a grant.

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
187 pages
Answer Key
Included with rubric
Teaching Duration
1 month
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real-world and mathematical problems, e.g., by reasoning about tables of equivalent ratios, tape diagrams, double number line diagrams, or equations.
Know the formulas for the volumes of cones, cylinders, and spheres and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems.


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