BEVERLY, Mass. — September 16, 2011 – After a an exciting first year of the Mars Education Challenge, Explore Mars, Inc is pleased to announce the second annual Mars Education Challenge (MEC). MEC asks science educators who teach grades 7-12 to develop inspiring ways to fit Mars science and exploration into their “every day” classroom lessons – such as biology, chemistry, physics, geology, etc. MEC empowers teachers to create lessons that will enable educators to teach these topics in new and interesting ways by using Mars as an example.
“Building a database of science lessons that use Mars to assist in the learning process is very rewarding for us at Explore Mars,” commented Explore Mars President, Artemis Westenberg. “It provides a service to all those teachers who cannot find the time to design such lessons themselves, but would love to use them in class. MEC is definitely our project with the widest impact. ”
The inaugural year of MEC was a wonderful success. MEC recognized five winning science educators who developed lesson plans that successfully utilized Mars in virtually all scientific disciplines. In addition, they were presented their prizes by none other than Bill Nye, The Science Guy. The 2010-2011 winning entries can be viewed at here.
The 2011-2012 MEC will recognize a grand prize winner as well as up to seven First Place winners. First Place winners will receive $2,500 grants and the national winner will receive a $5,000 grant. Winners will also have an opportunity to do field research with well-known planetary scientists. The national winner will win a trip to NSTA’s 2011 National Conference on Science Education in Indianapolis, Indiana where he or she will be recognized at a special awards ceremony.
MEC is being presented in partnership with the National Science Teachers Association and The Planetary Society. We are also pleased to have the support of Aerojet, GenCorp Foundation, the Louis L. Stott Foundation, and the Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium.
“NSTA is committed to fostering the career growth and development of quality science teachers who are dedicated to enriching their classrooms through the exploration of science,” said Dr. Francis Eberle, Executive Director of the National Science Teachers Association. “We are excited to enter into the second year of our partnership with Explore Mars in support of the Mars Education Challenge—a unique competition that inspires teachers to develop innovative ways to teach science in the classroom
Curricula support materials are due by January 31, 2012.