All Year 8 students took part in the challenging Mars Colony assignment as part of their ATL lessons and have now presented their final product.

Applied Transdisciplinary Learning (ATL) assignments are all centred on a problem or issue and relate to several different but related subject areas. Students work in teams to develop their future skills and the outcome of each assignment is a high quality presentation. Each assignment lasts for several weeks and is designed to include cooperative learning. Through each assignment students learn which sequence of steps is most efficient to solve a certain problem, how specific their instructions must be to reach a desired goal, and how to solve unexpected errors by efficient debugging and creative problem solving.

Here is Maddie and Sash’s report on the project:

Space the Final Frontier

Currently in our ATL lessons we are completing our Mars Colony assignment. The final product display was this week with all of year 8 taking part. We had to study Mars and spaceflight, then design a colony that would be able to survive Mars’ harsh climate. We also had to investigate the colonists that would be the first people to explore Mars, what jobs they would have but also take into account their skills and abilities. We explored both the physical and mental barriers that the astronauts would have to overcome. For the launch, we had Question and Answers sessions from two leading female scientists in this area: Dr. Heidi Thiemann and Aine O’Brien.

In our year ATL, today we went around both Wykham Park and Futures Institute Banbury. It was so much fun! We got to look at ALL the other people’s work and learn about their models and listen to their presentations about the colonists. Some of the materials they used were foil, Lego, cardboard etc to make their models. They all looked really good and you could tell how much time and effort they had all put into this project. It was so amazing.

Our group projects had to have a model, a presentation with facts about what materials the real thing would be made of and a video interview with the colonists. We found out as a group that the more time we spend on the project, the better it is. We had to talk about what materials we used and planned out what we made. We used cardboard, foil, Lego and loads more. We had to make a backdrop with facts about Mars, information on the materials we would make our colony out of and how those materials would be transported to the red planet. We had to keep in mind the payload capacities of the rockets being used and the fact that we had to use the least weight possible. Some groups used shrinkable plastic and metal and different materials that would not only be economic, but would be able to be transported. Other groups said that they would take plastic polygons up that would not only be light but also easily stacked and easy to build with.

During this assignment we used and developed multiple future skills such as entrepreneurialism, communication, cooperative learning, transdisciplinarity, sense making, collaboration, creative and adaptive thinking, cognitive load management and media literacy. We learnt what it takes to put all of those future skills together into our work and to work collaboratively to create the best possible outcome.

Here are some photos of the colonies made and on display during the Final Product activity.

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