Next Step... Building the Rover
Next, they build an exploration robot (rover) which even has a camera! The students at both schools built their rovers using the K'Nex Mars Exploration Rover kit. They must understand how their rover operates and what the camera images look like. The students will be testing their rovers on their own landscapes, to enhance their ability to interpret the 'data' returned from the rover once it reaches its remote destination. After testing the rover's capabilities and camera operation, they will exchange rovers.
Here you will see how the next step in this process can enhance learning and how the rover building can be incorporated into many different areas of your curriculum. The program is flexible and adaptable to any classroom, any age level. These schools used the K'Nex MERk (Mars Exploration Rover kit), but there are many options available to choose from for your rover. It is not necessary to purchase an expensive robotic kit for this project. You may build your own rover from LEGO blocks, K'Nex pieces, Erector Sets or materials from a building supply or hobby store. You can also use a discarded remote control car, recycled materials and a disposable camera for your rover. Use your imagination and do what works for your environment.
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