Mission to Mars
Grades 3-5

STEM Focus: Space Exploration

Mindset Focus: Neuroscience and Growth Mindset



At the end of this module, children will be able to:

  • Internalize a growth mindset by:
    1. Understanding the functions of the amygdala and pre-frontal cortex parts of the brain
    2. Applying the knowledge of how these brain parts interact to manage emotions and reactions when faced with a challenge
    3. Creating and mastering an Amygdala Calming Action (ACA) and Amygdala Calming Thought (ACT)
  • Incorporate the following STEM concepts in their creations:
    1. Balance the forces of thrust and gravity to create an orbit
    2. Build hermetically sealed shelters to weather extreme environments
    3. Use air resistance to ensure a safe landing
    4. Build tools to explore and survive on Mars

Bringing Our Lessons to Your Classroom

Step 1: Lay Out Materials

2 Tools:

  1. Scissors (1 scissor per 2-3 children)
  2. Tape (1 roll per 2-3 children)

6 Builders (20-30 pieces of each material below per child for all 10 lessons):

  1. Construction Paper 
  2. Recycled Card (just card NOT cardboard):
    • Cereal Boxes cut into 4 pieces (file folders are a fine substitute). 
    • Paper Towel Rolls
  3. Heavy Duty Foil (arms-length pieces)
  4. Jumbo Craft Sticks 
  5. Dixie Cups
  6. Bendy Straws

Special Materials:   (Needed for this module only)

  1. Wiffle Balls (1 per child – crunched up paper balls of about 2.5-3 inches are a fine substitute)
  2. Paper Napkins (20-30 per child)
  3. String (1 roll for every 10 children)

Note: Lesson 4 will need these additional materials for testing stations: 4-5 bins (approximately 10-15qt each)  and some beads (or beans) for each bin. If running the class online, each child will need their own bin and beads.

Important: You do not need to give each child their own set of materials. Just lay out all the materials and let children select what they would like to use — the video will tell them how many they can use.

If running the class online, parents do not need to provide all materials upfront; they can add as they go. 3-5 pieces of every material per child for each challenge is sufficient. To help children stay organized and to ensure they have enough materials, ask them for a picture of their materials area.

Step 2: Play Opening Video (15 min)

Each lesson has two instructional videos. Start each lesson with the opening video. It presents the STEM challenge to students in a fun, story format.

The lesson description contains setup instructions and tips for running the lesson successfully.

Step 3: Facilitate Building (45 min)

  • Once the opening video is complete, ensure children know where to find materials and set a 45 minute timer for building.


  • While kids are building, the room will get messy; but don’t worry! Clean up is an integral part of the closing video.


  • If a child encounters a problem while building, resist the urge to help or provide a solution. Ask questions that will guide the child towards their own solution such as, “Why do you think the animal keeps falling over? What other materials might be suitable for the legs?”

Step 4: Play Closing Video (15 min)

End each lesson with the closing video. It helps students to reflect on the concepts learned and leads them through a guided activity to close the lesson.

The lesson description includes a link to the parent email template for the lesson.

Teacher Training + Lessons 1-5

Lessons 6-10

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