Given the directive of creating a fast-paced field trip that would foster creative thinking and teamwork in response to an imaginary problem with an Apollo mission, Theresa and Chris researched and designed the experience based on actual NASA reports. Their deadline was 3 months as they worked around the Cosmosphere's staff-intensive camp season. They also collected or created public domain graphics as necessary and even physical components when needed. The gallery below showcases the work, explains decisions, and gives more detailed explanations. Photos of the program running are from the Hutchinson News (source here).
Given a subject matter (weather), a title ("Weather: Myths and Mysteries"), a timeline (1 month) and the goal of matching a field trip and lesson plans to Next Generation Science Standards for third grade, Chris took the lead in creating this field trip and lesson plans for the Cosmosphere (the program is missing from their online field trip links as of 1 June 2016).
"Weather: Myths and Mysteries" is a 3rd grade field trip experience that can be easily adjusted to groups of different sizes thanks to its built-in rotations. For the lesson plans, Chris interpreted data sets from NOAA and the National Weather Service, created graphics from scratch, and created physical pieces to accompany the program as well. One of the largest challenges was connecting seemingly-unconnected math, science, and writing standards to weather in a coherent set of lesson plans. The gallery below highlights parts of the lesson plans and provides further explanations.
The "Mini Mars Mission" is a field trip and accompanying lesson plans based on first grade Next Generation Science Standards and astronaut Mark Kelly's Mousetronaut books. Theresa inherited the "Mini Mars Mission" field trip and accompanying lesson plans and was given the job of improving both for the Cosmosphere (official link here). Chris helped with overall ideation, identifying resources, formatting, and proofreading.
Theresa improved the field trip by more carefully selecting artifacts in the Cosmosphere's museum to talk about, and the introduction of supplies the Cosmosphere already had on hand but was under utilizing. Improvements to the curriculum included additional lessons, making it more closely related to books, and adding additional graphics. Further explanations and more details are provided in the gallery below.
The "Mars Rescue Mission" was a framework given to Chris who then worked to fill it out. The largest challenge with this experience and curriculum package was meeting the goals of flexibility—Mars Rescue Mission had to be able to span developmentally different age groups, be able to last as short as 45m or as long as 1.5hrs, and handle different numbers of participants.
Chris' strategy was to both adapt existing resources and research new ones (such as photo interpretation/photogrammetry) that could be used in small teams—each team's work was designed to seem essential if there were enough participants and time, and had different gradations of work depending on the participants' skill level. Behind the scenes there was also a defined order for filling team positions based on which activities would be the most engaging for different sizes and ages of groups. Finally, the curriculum spanned a range of subjects, including the humanities, all based on the work you would do to rescue an astronaut on Mars.