With nearly 800 participants, 700 volunteers and 190 teams expected, the 12th annual Mars Rover Model Celebration and Competition will offer an out-of-this-world experience for elementary and middle school students at the University of Houston (UH). Held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 in the Conrad Hilton Ballroom of the Hilton UH, the event hosts hundreds of contestants dressed up in their finest Martian and rocket scientist gear and is free for the public to attend.
Each year, student teams research, design and construct a model rover to carry out a specific science mission on the planet’s surface. A $25 limit on supplies helps students learn about budgets and project management, while keeping the costs accessible for all schools. Past rovers have been crafted from simple art supplies, found objects, solar-power kits and radio-controlled car chassis.
The models are built in the fall during a six-week classroom-learning or homework project on Mars. The students were given design criteria for a rover and required to do basic research on Mars to determine the operational objectives and structural features of their rovers.
An educational outreach endeavor for third- through eighth-graders from Houston and its surrounding areas, the contest was developed to spark students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Showing how STEM fields offer exciting, relevant and accessible career paths, this contest offers hands-on projects that provide very true-to-life results, encouraging children to take learning beyond the textbook.
For more information, visit http://www.marsrover.org/.
Area elementary and middle school kids, dressed up as Martians and scientists to showcase their homemade Mars rover models
12th Annual Mars Rover Model Celebration and Competition
9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25
10-11:30 a.m. – Elementary school judging
2-3:30 p.m. – Middle school judging
University of Houston
Conrad Hilton Ballroom of the Hilton UH
Off Calhoun Road, Entrance 1
Editorial Note: Photos are available to media by contacting Lisa Merkl.