October 14, 2021

MARS EXPLORATION COMES INTO THE CLASSROOM

Under the guiding hand of Sylvestre Maurice, astrophysicist at the IRAP astrophysics and planetology research institute, 12 first-year students from the ISAE-SUPAERO aerospace engineering school have put together a digital tool for teachers designed to bring space exploration into the classroom for sixth to twelfth graders. The ‘SuperCam – Mars exploration’ teaching kit is an initiative of the Toulouse education authority, the Cité de l’espace space theme park, CNES, the national scientific research centre CNRS and ISAE-SUPAERO. Conceived as part of the engineering school’s social mobility and equal opportunities programme for students, the kit is the result of a collaboration between engineering students, teachers at partner middle and high schools, engineers, lecturers and researchers from CNES, ISAE-SUPAERO, CNRS and Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier University, and communicators at the Cité de L’espace.

The project is being rolled out nationwide by local education authorities to provide a teaching toolbox combining exercises, experiments, tutorials, quizzes, photos, videos and interactive presentations covering key topics in space exploration. The kit provides teachers in middle and high schools with classroom resources related to space exploration.

The teaching kit available on line from the education section of CNES’s website contains:
•    20 factsheets for middle schools, for different years and subjects
•    20 factsheets for high schools
•    A presentation of Mars exploration and the French SuperCam instrument operating on NASA’s Perseverance rover
•    A photo gallery
•    Several videos and classroom science experiments

Laetitia Bonnet, a teacher at Louis Pasteur middle school in Lavelanet, commented: “this teaching kit is a set of resources co-conceived with students and teachers. They’re ‘turnkey’ resources that can be used right out of the box. They’re aligned with the current curriculum, which is reassuring for teachers and schools inspectors, and they’re ‘fresh’ because they contain novel ideas from students. As some of them said, ‘we’re doing maths without even realising it…’ Last year, the resources weren’t quite ready yet and we had to work things out with students. But now, they’re ready to be used right away and we know they’re well thought out, which will make preparing lessons much easier.”

Download the SuperCam – Mars exploration teaching kit here:
https://enseignants-mediateurs.cnes.fr/fr/enseignants-et-mediateurs/ressources/mallettes-pedagogiques

CNES CONTACTS
Claire Dramas    Press Officer, Occitanie    Tel. +33 (0)5 61 28 28 36    claire.dramas@cnes.fr
Olivia Baumann     Press Officer     Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 76 59    olivia.baumann@cnes.fr
Pascale Bresson    Press Officer    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39    pascale.bresson@cnes.fr
Raphaël Sart    Head of Media    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 74 51    raphael.sart@cnes.fr