Boeing Grant Expands Destination Mars Program, Inspires Brevard Students With STEM Activities

By  //  May 24, 2020

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Brevard Schools Foundation received a $120,000 grant from The Boeing Company

ABOVE VIDEO: Brevard Schools Foundation received a $120,000 grant from The Boeing Company that is providing funding for a lively, day-long competition among 5th and 6th graders from across Brevard County.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Brevard Schools Foundation received a $120,000 grant from The Boeing Company that is providing funding for a lively, day-long competition among 5th and 6th graders from across Brevard County.

The Destination Mars Virtual Event, is the culmination of the year-long efforts put forth by elementary students and will take place on May 21. Sixteen teams representing 12 schools will be competing in four mission areas.

The Destination Mars Virtual Event is in its second year and was moved to an online platform this year due to COVID-19. Its goal is to cultivate tomorrow’s innovators by engaging students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) challenges.

The projects are designed to develop real-world problem-solving skills, simulation-based inquiry and collaboration. Teams were presented with four standards-aligned STEM challenges that were planned and executed in class and in after-school STEM clubs.

During the Destination Mars Virtual Event, the teams will have an opportunity to present their solutions to judging panels comprised of professionals from The Boeing Company, Brevard County Public Schools and other organizations.

Student teams selected one of the following challenges: Mission Base Camp- Students identified one of the challenges that humans might face living or working on Mars and then designed a pod for their base camp that would address the challenge
they identified.

The teams also built and programmed Piper Computer Kits to simulate an alert or warning and integrated these into their pods.

ABOVE VIDEO: The projects are designed to develop real-world problem-solving skills, simulation-based inquiry and collaboration. Teams were presented with four standards-aligned STEM challenges that were planned and executed in class and in after-school STEM clubs.

Mission iWear: Teams designed a wearable device that would assist a member of their mission or another organism with maintaining homeostasis on Mars.

Mission Robotic Rover EV3: Teams used block programming to program their rover (the LEGO Mindstorm EV3) to complete missions on Mars.

Mission Bio-Dome: Teams used Mindcraft: Education Edition to design and build a Martian Bio-Dome that would allow members of the mission to maintain homeostasis on Mars.

“The most positive impact of Destination Mars was the collaboration and teamwork the students demonstrated,” said Holly Mentillo, Vista teacher at Ocean Breeze Elementary. “Twelve kids worked together to complete multiple missions. There was a lot of arguing, debating, compromise, leadership, and supporting others, but most of all, there was learning to work together to complete the missions! A very valuable lesson!”

The grant from The Boeing Company also provided funding for Destination Space, an experiential field program at Kennedy Space Center for all 6th-grade students (5,600+) in Brevard Public Schools held earlier this school year.

“Boeing works toward a future where all students have access to learning so that they can develop their skills, do what they dream and build something better,” said Ingrid Piedrahita, Boeing Global Engagement Community Investor.

“Providing students with hands-on experiences where they can learn to think critically and analytically, collaborate well with others, be creative and communicate effectively will prepare them to make the next giant leap to Mars.”

“STEM education is vital to ensure that we are developing the next generation of innovators,” said Janice Kershaw, CEO/President of Brevard Schools Foundation. “STEM skills prepare students for high-demand tech jobs and are key talents needed in our ever-changing and complex world. We are grateful to partner with The Boeing Company to bring this engaging STEM education experience to our students.”

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“STEM education is vital to ensure that we are developing the next generation of innovators,” said Janice Kershaw, CEO/President of Brevard Schools Foundation. “STEM skills prepare students for high-demand tech jobs and are key talents needed in our ever-changing and complex world. We are grateful to partner with The Boeing Company to bring this engaging STEM education experience to our students.”

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